“Change. Adapt. Bend so as not to be broken. Let opportunity guide your actions.”
~Wayne Gerard Trotman, Veterans of the Psychic Wars
Over the weekend, in the midst of what had been a sweltering hot cobalt blue-skied day, darkness descended, the wind gathered its forces and reigned terror over the land for several terrifying moments.
The neighborhood sirens wailed, warning of danger, of emergency vehicles screaming to help. A booming sound rattled the house and the lights went out, pitching us into darkness. Lightning flashed, hitting somewhere close by and thunder shook the windows, causing the three dogs to quake with fear and howl.
I thought I was as scared as I could possibly be.
Until a flash of lightning lit up the darkness, a clap of thunder, then BANG, CRASH and SLAM, followed by the sound of glass SHATTERING only a few steps away from me at the kitchen window. I ducked for cover as the sound of howling wind swirled and shook outside on the patio.
When I dared open my eyes a few moments later, it was to see our large steel patio umbrella had been sheered clean off its stand and had crashed into one of the double-panes of glass of our kitchen bay window. The glass was shattered. The umbrella- destroyed.
I screamed. The incredible force of nature that it took to rip that steel pole in half scared the daylights out of me. The very idea of it. The power of it. The amazement of it. That shook me to the core.
The thought that it had been picked up and slammed only a few feet away from me didn’t actually occur to me until much later.
Thank heavens. I’m not sure how I might have reacted if it had.
The storm didn’t last long. It was if Mother Nature had a temper tantrum, screamed her head off for a few minutes like any other fed up mother and then went back to her business, leaving us in the wake of her destruction.
All around the neighborhood, streets were covered in fallen oaks and twenty-year-old maples, split and torn. Large trees too big to bend in the onslaught of the storm. There are mailboxes down, piles of cut and chopped wood at the driveway edges now, and everywhere you drive around here, you see evidence of the things that got in the way of the wind. Testimony of the things that would not bend to the sudden change, the sudden fury and flurry and power of Mother Nature.
Conversely… at the back of my yard, there is this tiny little evergreen. He began his life as a wild seed that blew in from somewhere unknown, and landed at the edge of a concrete sidewalk a few years ago. Every day, we walked past him and ignored him while he grew, pushing himself up out of a fleck of dirt, through a crack in the cement. It was the end of a summer before we paid the first bit of attention to him, and that was only to say, “Look at that silly little evergreen, growing at the edge of a crack in the sidewalk, what does it think its doing?”
The next spring it grew a foot, and had bent its way around the edge of the sidewalk to carve out a tiny bit of the front garden for itself. It hung on- literally for its life- in between the sidewalk and the edge of the garden, sticking out with its tiny evergreen branches fighting for survival.
I wasn’t laughing at it anymore, but instead admired its tenacity, though I didn’t have much hope for its choices. “Silly evergreen,” I said to it. “You chose poorly.”
By the end of the summer, it had grown another foot.
This year, we transplanted the now three-foot evergreen to its own honored spot in the backyard where it is tended and honored as a “Real” member of the garden family. Anyone that determined to live in our yard, is going to get all the help I can give it. I am all for helping the underdog.
We named him Sebastian. After a character in our Bonds of Blood and Spirit books. It was an appropriate name. He seems to be watching over all of the rest of the garden.
I checked on Little Sebastian after the deadly storm that killed much bigger trees, mailboxes and steel umbrellas. Sebastian survived without so much as a lost needle.
Sebastian is flexible, pliant, can shift with change. Can grow in the cracks, can be uprooted, transplanted, surrounded by weeds, peed on by dogs, and blown over by the force of a strong wind.
Sebastian is a survivor. Sebastian is resilient. Sebastian knows how to bend.
It is the tree that bends in the onslaught of the storm that has the better chance of surviving without being torn from its roots, ripped from the ground, or broken in two.
It is the person capable of adapting who survives the quickstep of change while others around them are stunned into inaction, backspun into being suddenly outdated, and broken and out of business.
Be resilient. Embrace Change. Keep up.
Change is hard. Not changing is harder.