Message from Your Chapter President - August 2021

thinker     President's Message
A few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with an arborist friend of mine.  He was telling me how trees deal with injury and he felt we could learn something from them. He explained that trees handle injury or trauma similar to how our bodies handle physical injury.  Oxygen is harmful inside any organism; our bodies create a protective layer called a Sanguineous Crust: a scab. If the injury isn't substantial, then the scab protects us long enough for the repair to happen. At that point, the scab falls off and new skin has been created in place of the injury. Trees also create a layer or pattern of protection called a CODIT which stands for compartmentalization of decay in trees. Once the tree is injured, this layer is built to protect the healthy tree like a scab.

But here is where the analogy collapses. Unlike our bodies, a tree cannot repair physical damage; it can only protect the healthy tree from the damaged area. The damaged area will remain exposed and is now prone to disease, so the protective layer is created between the injury and the rest of the organism where it then remains for the rest of the life of the tree. In this way, a tree's physical injury is more like the things that burden us: our differences, our struggles. In many cases, they don't ever leave us. We live with them but sometimes we dwell on them and, in some cases, they hold us back for years.

This is where my friend feels we could learn from the tree. The tree compartmentalizes the injury, sets it aside and carries on being healthy and productive. The injury is always there but it doesn’t impede the healthy part of the tree. He wonders if we could take a lesson from the tree for some of our burdens and learn to handle them differently. Maybe there is a way to leave the past behind and focus all our energy on the rest of our life: on sustainment and growth.

Here are a couple of articles with a more thorough description:

  4. Photo by niko photos on Unsplash

Mike Jones,