Learning At Nature’s Knee ~ Small Beginnings

“Mighty things from small beginnings grow.” ~ John Dryden

This week my daughter, Olivia, and I started our heirloom tomatoes seeds and some have already pushed their thread-like stems through the potting soil. Each year when I see these little shoots I’m amazed at how such small beginnings result in plants taller than me, bearing tomatoes larger than my fist. When I first started learning how to start my own tomatoes, my friend, Connie, taught me a cool trick for strengthening the seedlings hair-sized stems, you pet them. Yep. You read it right. She showed me how to gently run my hand over the miniscule leaves to simulate the breeze blowing. I have to admit, it is kind of fun. In a few weeks of petting and watering my little plants, my little plants will face another hurdle, transplanting. This process will give them a little shock at first, but soon they will stretch their roots in the soil and and reach toward the sky, fulfilling their purpose.

As I write this I’m reminded of how much I can learn from nature. Just as the quote says, I should never despise small beginnings. Another lesson is when life blows over me, bending me to the ground, I have the choice of standing up and using that experience to make me stronger. Finally, if I’m uprooted and transplanted, whether it be my goals, dreams, or plans, I should keep an optimistic attitude, reach deep, look up, and grow into my purpose.

The lesson of my tomatoes? Never give up because of small beginnings, winds of adversity or change.



All Is Not Lost

A Parable

by Linda Apple

Once there was a very conscientious leaf who took it’s job of feeding the tree very seriously. Even though it had sprouted on the lowest branch, it would stretch as far as it could to find the sun.

One day a young child walked by and stripped the leaf from the limb, then threw it on the ground. The leaf was upset at being torn from the tree so early in its life. It despaired at not being allowed to fulfill its purpose. Day after day it laid on the ground and watched all the other leaves feeding the tree, fulfilling their purpose, while it dried up.

One evening it whispered to the tree, “Tree, I’m so sorry I failed you.”

The tree answered, “Oh, leaf. You haven’t failed me. Just rest. Soon the earth will incorporate you and push you into my roots. Then you will not only feed me, you will become a part of me.”

Peace and happiness filled the leaf. It would get to fulfill its purpose after all, just not in the way it first thought.

Life has a way of stripping us from our branch, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t mean our only choice is to dry up and blow away. Sometimes these set backs give us a greater purpose.  The wisdom we glean, the lessons we learned, and the wisdom we gained not only makes us stronger, but gives us something of value  to invest in others.