A Tree’s Message

This is the story of two lemon trees growing in the backyard of a house. One tree had a sturdy trunk at the base; it had a complex network of branches and was spread over almost ten feet in width. It was laden with lemons; big and large and its leaves beamed good health and happiness.

The other tree had a slender trunk that split into two just a few inches above the ground. The gardener had tied the two halves together and a pole had been erected on the side to give it some strength. The branches hung over to one side seeking support from the cranberry bush next to it. The number of lemons it bore in a year could be counted on the fingers of your hand. It looked like a weakling, as compared to its robust cousin.

One night, the weaker tree questioned the other one, “Oh brother! What is the secret of your strength? Does the gardener feed you with more water or better fertilizer? You bear so many lemons, that I cannot even count them, whereas mine are not enough even to make one jug full of lemonade.” The older tree smiled wisely and said, “When I was a little sapling, I never tried to grow up big and tall in a hurry. I grew slowly and steadily, till my trunk became strong. The numbers of branches that I grew out were only those whose weight I could bear and nourish. I bear fruit in proportion to the nourishment I receive from the soil and the sun. The fertilizer is just an added source of vitamins to keep my strength up. But I have often observed the way you have conducted yourself, right from the day you came to our home. You shot up more than four feet high in the first year. In your hurry to grab more space, you split your tender trunk into two. The gardener tried his best to tie them together to keep you strong but you grew taller with a vengeance. Your ten feet high branches bend over and fall to the side because your spine is not able to take the weight of itself, let alone the fruit that you bear. I wonder why you did not consolidate on your strengths before you diversified. Why were you in such a hurry?”

The weaker tree shed tears and said, “Brother, I realise my mistake, but it’s too late for me now. What can I do?”

The wise old tree said, “Listen, soon this season of fruit shall be over, and the gardener shall chop off all our longer arms in his act of pruning. Do not resist, but bear the pain. Then, do not try to grow more branches and leaves, first try to strengthen your trunk, you may never be able to be as strong as me, but surely you can make a difference if you try!”

Well! If a lemon tree can, surely we can too. If we all try, we can make a difference to our personalities too. And don’t forget; slow and steady wins the race.