30. Experience

Unlike most other plants, trees collect their experiences year by year to create rings, each marking a single year of its maturity and growth. Count a tree’s rings and you’ve essentially determined her age.

 

The ring pattern also says a good bit about the historical weather patterns of its home: wide rings generally indicate a summer with plenty of sun and rain, whereas narrow rings tell of a short growing season or one plagued with little rainfall. By comparing the rings of a sample of trees within a particular geography, scientists essentially infer what the area has historically experienced in terms of weather.

 

I love trees. And I guess partly so because they stay with us for such a long time. It distresses me to see an old tree cut down. So many we’re familiar with have lived well over a century, pleasing even some of our own ancestors.

 

The live oak is such an example of a long-lived tree. The landscapes of South Carolina’s low country as well as Georgia’s coastal towns, like Savannah or Brunswick, are replete with these specimens. And many of those left standing actually pre-date the Revolutionary War. The live oak is Georgia’s state tree, symbolic of the “old south’s” agricultural heritage.  The white oak and the sycamore are two more of my favorites – the white oak for its stateliness and interesting lobed leaves, and the sycamore for its massive size and huge leaves.

 

Day 30 Guide

 

Today, think about the importance of your experiences and your natural tendency to acquire and hold on to things that help you understand life. In my opinion, the most interesting people are those who bear the battle scars of life. Let this knowledge help you make it through hard times. Today, live.

 

© 2005, Levi Hill

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