6.10.2010

Between a Rock and a Hard Place


If you are between a rock and a hard place, you are in a tough position. I’ve always thought that phrase described an impossible bind--and that you have to be tough to bully your way out. But walking down a city street, admiring the canopy of old oaks shading me, I looked down and saw an intriguing pattern of roots and cobbles. Every tree had been planted between a rock and a hard place--what with pavement and street at their trunks, and bedrock under their roots. But every tree was thriving. They were simply embracing their adversaries, swallowing them up--you can almost see the liquidity of their growth
Softness wins out, in the long run.

21 comments:

24 Corners said...

Wonderful image, almost Harry Potterish...and the lesson, very much so taken to heart! J~

mary said...

I have been reading the Tao for four years. The tree is following "the water way", or softness which will triumph over the harshness we have been taught to admire and follow. With softness there is always growth. I love your image, I'm saving it for when I need to describe courage. Have a great day.

C said...

nothing is impossible ... patience is rewarded.

Nice post.

Claudia Juestel / Adeeni said...

Your blog is such a joy to read, also because of your wonderful insights about the subtleties of live.

Cheers,

Claudia

Christa said...

And don't we all really want, at our core, to grow?

Lovely.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog. You have wisdom and peace that I hope to have when I get to my older years. Nice to know there are other people looking at the world the same way I do - but expressing it much better!

austere said...

How I needed to read this today.

Thank you.

Cristina said...

...it also helps to be "life thirsty" to overcome the many tough situations all of us have to face sooner or later.

Dennis said...

What a wonderful post.

Don't you find that the happiest people always seem to be moving forward in a positive way, adapting easily and allowing things to unfold in their own sweet time? Like nature. Like these trees.

Thank you for this and for your beautiful blog.

Anonymous said...

The relationship between plants and stones is more complicated, I think, than most people realize. Trying to rid a narrow grass strip of thickly growing plantain (a tough weed with many medicinal uses) I noticed as I weeded that EVERY plantain grew above a stone, and spread its strong roots over and around it like a spider protecting an egg case. It seemed clear that the plantains were both anchored and nourished by their stones, just as some people seem not only to survive, but to REQUIRE hardship in order to thrive.

Dominique said...

An amazing comment from Anonymous about plantain; now I'm going to keep my eyes open for situations like that....and I love the phrase "life thirsty"....as well as "the water way". Back to the Tao for me...many thanks. d

Sara said...

I too love the phrase "life thirsty." Your blog is so inspiring and reaffirming of the desire (and need) to grow, change, and be mindful.

Pam said...

The slow weathering of rock is the geological basis for soil formation, and releases nutrients into the surrounding environment. Even in the absence of many years (geological time), the rocks are nourishing, albeit slowly, the surrounding environment. Perhaps the rock isn't a hard place after all - we just view it as such from the outside. But the tree understands this. The plantain most likely has evolved with the rock, happily, and does not view the rock as a hardship requirement at all - but instead views it as the perfect place to take up residence.

(A friend just told me about your blog, she came across a piece in the NYTimes that you wrote about losing your job. I recently lost a job I loved - one I had for 16 years - and when I got to your comment about becoming obsessed with hard boiled eggs for awhile - I couldn't stop laughing. Boy did that sound familiar! There is such honesty in a hard-boiled egg, and comfort and simplicity - thanks for sharing your these experiences.)

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