How Things Grow

Why do I not grow?  These leaves stay small and brittle.  They do not flair outwards like yours.  My bark is still soft, my branches are few.

Ah, said the old tree as it bent over the sapling.  Its leaves bristled against the young tree’s bark.

What you describe is not growth.

This is how you really grow.  In secret, discontent, discomfort, in ways that you don’t always want to.  You grow when your tendrils grow sore and strained, your young shoots get scorched in the sun.  You grow under the surface, in the cold, dark, wetness.  You will compete with the others for space, you will be assailed by owls and rodents.

You do not grow while thinking about growth.  You look back after a long life and notice it.

These leaves?  Do not envy them, for they reach their largest and brightest just before their death.

This is what the old tree said to the young sapling before it fell.

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