Against All Odds


There is so much to be learned from nature if we take the time to notice. Even in the most challenging situations or times it can be possible to renew, to regain, when it seems that our chances for success have been destroyed.

Every morning I must pass through a narrow opening to enter the space by the ocean’s shore where I do my morning exercises. As I do, I notice every day a tree stump almost buried in slabs of concrete stone, thrown there by an ambitious gardener dedicated to some cleanup of the area. This space is not owned by anyone but is “area verde”, a common “green area” of the community. For the last several months I have marvelled at this stump’s repeated attempts to grow new branches. The new growth is bright green and it grows rapidly sending out shoots to receive the sun and the rain which aid it in its renewal. I could not help but wish it good luck as I passed by. But there was challenge for this new growth. Another passerby broke off one of its new branches. Why? I do not know.

However, for the second time the stump sent out new growth, stronger and more beautiful than the last. Again I marvelled at this plant’s urge to survive. Sadly, there was another challenge and this time all the new growth was broken off. It seemed that the stump was finally giving up. But no, today I noticed small buds coming out again from the stump’s base.


I think of a friend who has been struggling for almost a year to regain the use of her legs following a fall. I marvel at her against-all-odds attitude. First she had emergency surgery to repair a break in the top of her femur which involved insertion of a titanium plate and screws. Her progress was marred by one of the screws breaking off. A second surgery was done to insert a full hip replacement prosthesis. Following this she was in bed for a very long time giving the healing process a chance to occur. But then another challenge, the prosthesis popped out of joint requiring surgical revision and more months of bed rest. After all this, she renewed her walking program but this exacted so much pain that it was impossible for her to make any real progress. It was then discovered that there was a loose bone fragment in the hip area. More surgery is now required.

Does she give up? No, like the tree stump she will persevere, against all odds.

Tomorrow when I pass through the narrow entry I will whisper to that tree stump, I salute you! And, my friend, if you are reading this blog, it is my salute to you !!

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  • Agnes says:

    What a lovely reminder, Judith. Just yesterday I noticed a lovely, strong green shoot venturing forth from a friend’s discarded garden pot… and I have an elderly friend who, like your friend, has had one health setback after another this past year yet keeps on keeping on.
    The examples are ones we can all use!

    • Judith says:

      Thanks Agnes As we start a new year, especially, there is energy to invest in renewal. I like your words “venturing forth”..

  • Susan says:

    The energy for regrowth belongs to all of us. It’s a gift from the universe.
    When life throws a challenge sometimes it’s easy to forget and wallow in the challenge without realizing that the energy for regrowth is innate.
    Thanks! I needed this reminder!

    • Judith says:

      Thank you too, Susan, for the reminder that the “energy for regrowth belongs to all of us”.

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