When I first spotted this shrub growing up near where I work, I was amazed. Looking closer, I realized it had somehow, despite the near constant shade and diesel smog, grown up from a narrow crack between the concrete block wall and concrete ground.
What an inhospitable and unforgiving place to grow.
Then I thought perhaps I could pull it free and take it somewhere more appropriate to be planted and grow. Somewhere with good soil, sunshine and fresh air. After tugging gently at the base for a moment, I decided the roots must go down really far into the ground. And I knew from back when the concrete had been laid down, it was several inches thick before the ground began.
So I ended up standing there for a few moments, staring at the pretty little shrub. It’s desperate quest for life pulled at me. How far down had the roots must have stretched and how far up its branches surely reached just to reach the dim daylight it gets. Yet it seems to be thriving in such an unlikely spot.
Humm. What about me? As normal for me, unusual finds in nature tend to make me grow philosophical or think deeply.
So how far down to my roots go? Probably not all that far to be honest. Not like this shrub. Am I as eager to stretch for the daylight, to spread my arms to the sun? Again, not really.
I’m human. I get bogged down in life matters. Work, bills, worries, obligations, promises, stuff. I don’t always remember sunshine and good soil (or human equivalents) are important for growth. I tend to dwell on what’s wrong with my world, instead of saying I’ll just keep pushing and reaching and stretching until I find something positive.
And I also realized that anything is possible. While I have known this truth before, I sometimes need a reminder and this little shrub had provided me just that. If it could grow up from such an unlikely location, with such discouraging setbacks, then anything was possible. That was worth remembering.
So I snapped a couple of pictures of the shrub, wished it the best of luck and went on my way, wiser for the chance meeting. And for the subtle lesson the determined little life quietly offered me.