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Shallow Roots May Be a Sign of Health?

Shallow Roots May Be A Sign of Health?

I want to be wiser this year than last year. Wisdom is something I suspect we all are probably seeking. Something happened recently that made me think about how I develop wisdom.

While walking though the Redwood National Park in California this past week, I couldn’t stop looking up. Staring in wonder, I saw massive trunks rising over 300 feet into the sky, with green leaves and branches stretching toward the clouds. The redwood trees are massive, old, and utterly unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Some of the trees in this National Park are over 2,000 years old, and even the most common, relative youngsters are over 500-600 years old. That’s a time frame I find it hard to wrap my brain around. And I submit, we can learn from these ancient trees.

I was shocked to discover that these massive, ancient trees have a very shallow root system of only 10 to 12 feet. How can this be? How can such an apparently tiny foundation support something taller than the Statue of Liberty? I learned that these trees create an interconnected web of roots with other trees that extends for hundreds of feet. You see, not one redwood tree stands by itself. Each towering tree depends on other trees around it. These trees – that have survived earthquakes, fires, droughts, floods, good seasons and bad seasons – live in a family of trees supporting one another. 

I believe we all can take a lesson from the redwood tree and spend less time growing vertical roots (on our own) and invest our energies in nurturing our horizontal roots. We need a family of partners, organizations, and friends to survive and thrive in both good and bad times. Let’s focus on strengthening our horizontal roots to be hundreds of feet long. It won’t happen overnight, and we must be intentional about developing those strong connections. That can be a challenge because we are living in a time of disconnectedness. But you and your organization will be breathtaking when you’re linking hands, time, and energies with one another. Beauty comes in our connectedness. So be like the towering redwoods and send out those roots. Because we are wiser, together.

Stay sharp, 

Holly Hayes, President & Founder
ISI Consulting