Two trees sat in the forest one cool summer day.
The pine looked at the oak and said: “All these years we’ve grown together and I’ve always been envious of you. Every year, you sprout beautiful leaves and acorns, and in the fall your leaves embellish the forest with reds, yellows, and oranges and your acorns feed the squirrels and animals that nourish us. I feel so ugly standing next to you.”
The oak replied: “All these years I’ve been envious that throughout the winter, when I’m bare, you give color to the forest and provide warmth for the animals that nourish us. I stand naked and frail, yet your beauty is evergreen. I feel so ugly standing next to you.”
Fall came, and the oak’s leaves dried and changed to hues of amber and red, much to the delight and envy of the pine.
Winter came, and the pine’s evergreen hues of green and blue gave the forest a tranquil beauty in the darkest hours of the day, much to the delight and envy of the oak.
Spring came, and the trees both flourished in their new growth. The leaves of the oak began to grow and the pine developed the rich hue of spring.
Summer came again, and they both marveled at the other’s beauty and were ashamed of their own, none the wiser that they each have their own beauty and that no amount of envy or wishing will change their natures.
How many times have you wished that you were taller?…
or were blonde?…
or were on a slimmer frame?…
or had larger boobs?…
or had broader shoulders?…
or had a smaller chin?…
or had wider hips?…
or had cuter feet?…
Nature always wins. Work with your nature and manifest your natural beauty, or continuously hack, paint, dye, augment, lift, bake, and starve to become a shade of it.
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Photo Credit: thebeadedlily
Wise words. In the literal sense I love the pine and the oak for those very reasons. I love the seasons and all weathers – no two moments are the same, from misty mornings to golden sunsets, stormy skies and the song of cricket on a summer’s afternoon. Our own beauty? I am thankful that age has actually made me feel more confident and beautiful than ever. At 52 I have gray hair and my boobs are as small as ever, but I have been complimented on both by total strangers. Whatever your looks, and however dissatisfied you are with them, not every one shares your taste, but may find you very attractive.
Tim Brownson says
Does that mean I should stop wishing I had more hair then? 😉
Actually I am kidding because I don’t really care about stuff like that, but I do sometimes find myself wishing I had more patience. Is that the same? I’m not really sure.
Tim Brownsons last blog post..The Cure To An Average Life
@Judy: I actually came up with the parable by walking around campus and remarking about the trees. I used to camp at all times of the year, and the strange bedfellows of constancy and dynamism that happens in the wilderness is fascinating at a very primal level. I like your blog – Walden Pond 2.0. I’ll have to check it out more.
@Tim: There’re things that are within our control – a lot of our temperaments being some of them. That’s much different than wishing we could change our structures.
Plus, don’t you know that bald is beautiful? Seth, Mike, Tim, and others can’t all be wrong…
Amanda K. says
What is it about humans that makes us envy all the things we don’t have? Mel loves my curly hair and I think it’s the biggest pain in the ass! Somewhere along the line you have to decide that going against the grain isn’t always about being independent, it’s just stubbornness. Going with the flow at times can be an actual stress-reliever.
@Amanda: FWIW, I always liked your curly hair, too. And I so agree that going with the flow can be a huge stress-reliever, especially when the flow is going to consistent to your own values. But learning how to go against the flow (when you don’t like it) without doing it directly…therein lies the rub!
Andre Kibbe says
“There’re things that are within our control – a lot of our temperaments being some of them. That’s much different than wishing we could change our structures.”
Very true. Besides, how people carry and present themselves to the world usually contributes more to their attractiveness than their genetic endowments.
“Plus, don’t you know that bald is beautiful? Seth, Mike, Tim, and others can’t all be wrong!”
A lot of men shave their heads to look cool — not to mention a few women like Sinead O’Connor and Rachel Rosenthal. Skin is in.
Andre Kibbes last blog post..Somedays, Research and Edgework: Three Strategies for Dealing with Ambiguity
@Andre: If I keep telling you you’re awesome throughout the blogosphere, people will start to think I’m stalking you. I’m not, really – he’s just really cool, folks!