The Persistence of Plants

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The ground fell out from around its root, but the tree keeps growing.

The tenacity of plants always amazes me. Faced with poor soil, too much sun, too much shade, competition from other plants–whatever the obstacle, many plants will continue to send out roots, sprout flowers or produce seeds. For a case in point, consider this photograph taken earlier this week at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising, Mich. My husband and I took a short vacation there this week, enjoying the cool breezes off of Lake Superior, the incredible rock formations, doing some gentle hiking, and talking with the friendly folks at the Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore, where we heard a soulful and fun performance of Cole Porter music by six opera singers performing as part of the Pine Mountain Music Festival.

But as we took the long drive home yesterday, I kept thinking about this tree. The sandstone that connected it to the mainland here fell away some years ago. Still, the tree grows, hanging onto the soil and its nutrients by this single exposed root. Now that is persistence.

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