If you have ever visited northern California, you might recognize the trees in the photo above as Giant Sequoia. These trees are MASSIVE and can grow to 200 feet high and have a circumference of 70 feet. Some of these trees have tunnels carved through the base of their trunks so that vehicles (big vehicles!) can drive through them.
When looking at these trees, one might think that it would require an incredibly large and deep root system to keep these monsters anchored and stable. That however is surprisingly NOT the case.
Despite their enormous size, the Giant Sequoia actually has an incredibly shallow root system that is just below the earth’s surface–not deep at all. How then can these monsters (who along with Redwood Trees are the tallest trees in the world) stay upright and manage to weather decades of howling wind, torrential rain and damaging erosion? The answer to this question lies not in how deep their roots grow but in how connected the trees are.
You see, Giant Sequoia trees are not lone, solitary figures on a barren landscape. Instead, they grow in groves and their roots (albeit shallow) intertwine with the roots of their neighboring trees. As more and more trees intertwine their roots, the more secure and stable EVERY tree in the grove becomes. Whereas a mighty wind storm might easily topple a lone, top-heavy tree with shallow roots; it is no match for a tree whose roots are interlocked with the roots of hundreds of other trees in the grove. Additionally, the lager more mature trees provide a protective shelter for the younger, less established trees in the grove. This establishment of a community is what allows the Giant Sequoia to thrive and grow to such majestic heights despite years of battling what are often harsh outside conditions.
As humans, we can take the wisdom of the Giant Sequoia and apply it to our own lives. How often do we try to shut people out when things get difficult? Why do we often feel like we have to do things on our own instead of reaching out for support? I know that in my own life, I’ve been the grateful benefactor of a strong community of support. I shudder to think about where my life might be today if it weren’t for the secure and loving arms of friends and family who supported me and held me up as I battled a devastating eating disorder, escaped an emotionally unhealthy marriage and gradually fought to regain my FabYOUlous sense of self. Now that I am stronger and healthier, I vow to do my part to help securely anchor the others in my community of friends and loved ones who might also be engaged in battles of their own. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to be strong on your own or that it is weak to latch on to others for support. It is by allowing ourselves to become connected that we truly gain strength and resiliency. Community equals stability for ALL who are intertwined.