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Wednesday October 9, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday October 9, 2013 MYT 5:07:47 AM
by s.h. loke
Survivor: Nicknamed The President, this giant sequoia which grows in the Sequoia National Park in California is about 3,200 years old. – LAT
The second largest tree in the world offers many lessons on old age.
READING about the second largest tree on Earth in the National Geographic gave me an insight into the lessons on old age that we can learn from this remarkable tree.
This tree grows in the Sequoia National Park in California. Its trunk is rusty red, thickened with deep layers of furrowed bark. It is 8m in diameter at the base.
This giant sequoia, one of several surviving species of redwoods, is about 3,200 years old. It was given the name The President about 90 years ago by admiring humans. Rising to 75m, it billows into a thick crown like a mushroom cloud flattened against the sky. Its crown of glory is so full that it holds 2 billion leaves.
Giant sequoias are gigantic because they are very, very old. They have survived all the threats that could have killed them. They can endure cold, heavy snows, lightning strikes and even fires. Having overcome all these threats, The President grows bulky and strong.
Similarly, we can survive the trials, tribulations and hardships of life, if we are rooted in a faith that is strong and real. We can also overcome anything that life throws at us.
Like The President, we can turn our adversity into opportunities to mould and strengthen our character. With fortitude and tenacity, we can rise above our circumstances and triumph over our trials.
The President is too strong to be knocked over by lashing winds. Its heartwood and bark are infused with chemicals that protect against fungal rot. Equipped with the right positive outlook and an overcoming mentality, we too can be victors and not victims of our circumstances. We can let our trials shape and sharpen us to be people who are resilient, persevering and unflinching.
Amazingly, The President is a snow tree. It can withstand months of severe winter when snow piles up around it. The thick bark of this tree is flame resistant. Ground fires are in fact good for these sequoia trees. They burn away competitors, opening sequoia cones, allowing sequoia seedlings to shoot up. This massive tree is really made for survival.
We all have our fair share of hard knocks in life. Our trials and testings can either break us or make us.
We can allow our trials to bring out the best in us. Then we will develop inner strength and release the indomitable human spirit in us.
Another startling discovery about this tree is that it continues to grow even in old age. The elderly President lays down wood around its trunk, which grows wider, and into its branches which grow thicker. This contradicts the long-held belief that wood production decreases during the old age of a tree.
Like The President, we should still try to grow mentally even in old age. There are always new things to learn and master, new ideas to try out and new challenges to take up. We should never feel old and useless.
Instead, we should look for opportunities to use our gifts and talents to bless others. We can always make the world a better place by being sensitive to the needs of others. There is so much we can do for the poor, the needy and the underprivileged. Many old people tend to be inward looking, murmuring and moaning about their aches and pains, and broken relationships. If we keep ourselves fully occupied by serving others, we will be happier and more contented with our lives.
Moreover, we can grow in wisdom and grace. With our wealth of experience and expertise acquired over the years, we can guide our younger generation. Where possible, we can even inspire our young people to strive for excellence in all their endeavours. Our lives can still be fruitful in old age.
The President towers above all in beauty, durability and magnificence. We can also shine as people of substance if we can carry ourselves with dignity and self-respect. Even our grey hair can be our crown of glory if we have honour and personal integrity. May we flourish and grow in old age like the awesome President, standing tall and resolute.
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Lifestyle, California tree, old age, senior, The President
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