Existentialism of Pancreatic Cancer
INTERESTING STUFF – 23 December 2017

Inspiring Trees That Refuse to Die

At the beginning of this long holiday weekend, it feels unseemly to write about any on my long list of topics about elders and politics. Celebration and camaraderie and love should be the focus of these few days once a year. It may be just aspiration to do so but a good enough respite, don't you think?

Just in time, Darlene Costner sent an email with photographs of a bunch of trees that refuse to die. They continue living in ways that few could anticipate, but each used the circumstances it found itself in to prevail.

As you may suspect, given my big cancer event during this past year, it awes me to ponder the obstacles these trees overcame to keep going. Before I post the video of the photographs, here's what Darlene Costner said when she included the still shots in her email:

”You have deep roots so maybe you are a tree. Just refuse to die. Do you think that would work for us?”

They say that trees have been on earth for 370 million years. No wonder. I found the series inspiring to the point of teariness, and also soothing. Maybe, if I'm willing to bend to the circumstances of my changed life as these trees have done, I can survive longer than expected too.

(I found the inappropriate music mildly annoying. Like me, you may want to mute it. It was nice to watch in the silence.)


What a lovely way to start the day! Thank you, Darlene & Ronni for making my day! Dee :)


The tenacity of life is truly amazing, be it in plants or animals. thank you!

Ronni, that first tree survives by gently taking its place between hard rocks, like you are doing. The roots have a plan, they always did. Above the rocks, the tree blossoms out like an intricate fan. It finds the sun.


Darlene is a gem.

Always the right words at the right time.


Wonderful. Thank you.

Thank you Darlene and Ronni for sharing this. I have grown increasingly fascinated by not only the magnificence of trees, but of the world below the soil through which they communicate. As a native plant enthusiast, I have only recently begun to understand the complex mycorrhizal relationships through which trees and other plants warn each other of threats of disease and by which they can actually manipulate their environment to allow for their survival. Trees can certainly teach us a thing or two.

Suzanne Simard, a forester who grew up in the forests of British Columbia and has worked in them for decades, has a wonderful TED talk about this, titled "How Trees Talk to Each Other". When you have 18 minutes to devote to it, I would highly recommend checking it out on YouTube. Thirteen minutes in, Suzanne begins to suggest comparisons between our own social networks and those of trees, and how they affect our resilience. I don't think it's too much of a leap to make that connection. I think this blog that connects people all over the country, and beyond, enhances our own resilience. I know I feel more of a surge each day when I read your words, Ronni, and the comments of those here, whom I have come to know, at least a little bit, by name and by what they share here.

Ronni, I hope that you are feeling resilience from all those here who follow your progress, and are sending out messages in support of your well-being. I wish more of us could be nearer to do more, especially during the holidays and at this darker time of the year.

Loved the ones on a rock in the ocean!

Magnificent. Each time I thought "Oh this is my favorite" a better one came up. Inspiring how they cling to life, no matter their circumstance.

About 5 years ago I was told by doctors I had 1-2 years left to live. I moved to Oregon for a dignified death but while at OHSU I was offered a treatment and it worked. Now, 4 years after treatment, I am pretty healthy and happy enough. My point is you never know the future but it is that not knowing that makes life worth living.
Let go and let live.

Lovely video of remarkable trees. I only wish it was longer! The shapes, tenacity and ingenuity shown by these survivors was splendid. Thank you, Darlene, for finding this inspirational treat.

Some years ago, I visited the ancient Bristlecone pine forest near Bishop in California. These trees are ancient, some dating back 4,000 years or more. They grow at around 10,000 feet. When there, I felt as if I was on holy ground. (Well, except for when a ground squirrel stole my lunch). Wikipedia has a good article on them.

The little park nearby is my healing place. To sit amidst trees never fails to lift my spirits.

I've seen the one in the Olympic forest and it's amazing. Many coastal trees have great holding power, growing trees on trees. Inspiring.

Thank you Ronni and Darlene for this beautiful example of resilience . Thanks also to Cathy for her TED talk recommendation, it reinforces belief in the mysteries in nature. A great reminder in these cynical times.

Amazing, true enough, although a "tree ain't we". Humans as a whole just don't do such miraculous things, now do we?! Best wishes to all for a reasonably Happy Holiday.

Reminds me of the lovely film "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". Thank you.

Thank you Ronni and Darlene. And, I always enjoy the comments of others. The trees were remarkable! And, we all are too! Blessings to each of you.

It was nice to see chapel rock from Munising, my home town. So very inspirational, all of them.

Last spring we spent an afternoon walking among the ancient bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of Southern California. As sflichen says, these are some the longest living trees on the planet. They are tough; they grow out of rocks! It was sobering.

Thank you, Ronnie for this lovely video.

Video shows life, and impossible-seeming choices?, attitudes?, and take me to some familiar phrases - "Hang in there," "Go out on a limb," "If you've got it, use it!" "Don't let life drag you down," "Do the best you can with what you've got." "Dream the impossible dream."

This thinking, if that's what it is, is made possible by ingesting remedies for a throbbing head cold that will go for another 3-4 days. On the upside of that, thank you to those whomevers that recommended Balloon Juice (open 24 hours) that keeps on keeping on. Very useful at these times.

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