Walking through a green New England forest, I happened upon a great tree.
I could not have gotten my arms around the trunk if I tried. It was more than 3′ in diameter at the biggest broken part. This mighty tree had gotten struck by lightning some time ago, knifing it through ~ 15 ft off the ground. By the time I came upon it, the tree from ~ 15ft up lay silently on the ground.
On its way crashing down: it encountered two small saplings, sons of the same blood it appeared.
One tried to break the big tree’s fall by standing tall and strong against the onslaught. It was split in half. The half-sapling that lay on the ground next to the fallen giant was bruised, coverd with old blood and broken. The half-sapling still upright bravely tries to seal its significant wound, still attached to its broken half. The standing half-sapling will probably be able to live at least a few years. It will never achieve near its capacity … now on a likely path to be stunted & sickly (due to a serious blow to its root system).
The other nearby sapling was whole. It didn’t try to break the big tree’s crash by standing up to such force. However, when the big tree came down, it took the top of this sapling with it. The whole sapling folded with the weight of the giant – all the way to the ground .. forming an arc that was ~ 8 ft at the apex. With the exception of a few small leafy branches, the entire top of the whole sapling – everything the whole sapling had worked to produce and be – was pinned under the fallen tree. There was no getting it out .. now. Over time and assistance by the forces of nature returning dust to dust (wind, rain, insects, etc); the giant tree will be consumed and the whole sapling released. By that time, the whole sapling will be permanently bent in half … its main trunk accommodated to its circumstance. It too will never achieve near the genetic capacity of an unharmed tree of its kind .. yet … because its roots are intact, its core is whole and time and erosion are on its side: the whole young sapling will likely grow to a ripe old age, reproduce, enjoy many cycles of seasons, sprout new limbs, grow more trunk and live long.
Watch out where you fall, mighty trees … the future stands around you.
Watch out for falling elders, young saplings … your future depends on it.