The parable of the Cottonwood and the Oak.




Once, along a gentle stream landed not fifty feet from one another a cottonwood seed and an acorn. They both fell on damp and fertile ground, protected from the harsh north wind by a low ridge. The stream ensured that their future roots would have more water than they could drink. Both were quick to sprout in such a place, and as their heads poked above ground, they cheerfully nodded to one another. They began to grow, years went by, each adding height and mass to the little trees. They both grew proud and straight, but as more years passed the oak had to bend it’s head back to look up to the top of the cottonwood. The rain fell, the sun shone, the snow piled around them, flowers sprouted in their shade, the wind blew, birds began to nest in their branches. The cottonwood was now several times taller than the oak, he looked down upon the oak and thought much of himself. More years passed, the cottonwood, still taller, still bigger, began to feel an ache in his arms, the oak, although shorter, and somewhat frustrated by this fact, felt as if he were still just beginning to grow. At first it was one branch, it was the weight of a heavy snow that caused it, one of the cottonwoods arms fell to the ground. Then it became regular, and the branches formed a pile around the trunk of the cottonwood. Through this trial, the cottonwood was still taller, but their was something about the oak, something stronger, something deeper. They grew and grew, years passed, lovers etched their names in their trunks, owls slept in them, children climbed them, great stags scrapped them with their racks. Then one night as the wind was blowing terribly, some people still remember it, the great cottonwood could hold on no longer, he was brought low with a terrible crash. For many years the oak lived on, but no longer looking up to his neighbor, only looking up to the stars.


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