Tree Grows in Lava

Tree at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is determined to grow in lava

Tree determined to thrive in lava

As my son and I drove through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in January, we saw along the side of the road many mounds of lava. Out of one mound grew a young, scraggly tree. Its roots had sunk deep into the black rock. It was determined to grow and thrive. I don’t know what kind of tree it was, but I was impressed by its tenacity, its courage to live.

Sometimes trees and other plants thrive in excellent soil, and they are watered and cared for by gardeners, farmers, or landowners. Other times, they are pretty much on their own. In Hawai’i, trees and plants get lots of water in the form of rain, but trees like the one in the picture above are on their own in almost every other way. We probably could think of many ideas about why this tree is growing out of lava. Whatever the reason for its location, it is managing to survive.

It gives me hope just to see it growing out of the rock. No matter how tough our experiences in life may be, we can do well, even thrive. We just have to stay focused every day on those things that will help us succeed.

I’m pretty sure the scrawny tree in this photo doesn’t spend its days saying, “How horrible that I ended up taking root in this hard, black lava. Why couldn’t I have been put in a better place? Doesn’t anybody care about me? It’s not my fault that I’m so scrawny.”

The tree may be more focused on absorbing all it can from the sun, the rain, the nutrients in the lava and all the other things around it that provide what it needs to be healthy. Instead of focusing on what it doesn’t like, it’s focused on what will help it be strong and healthy.

It makes me smile whenever I look at the picture of this little tree. It reminds me that we can find a way to flourish, no matter where we are planted.

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