Humility and the Art of Trees


Visualize a great Redwood tree. The tallest Redwood tree in the world is named Hyperion and lives in the Redwood National Park in California. Hyperion stands at 379.1 feet. Some of the tallest buildings in Las Vegas tower just a few more yards taller.

Visualizing the tree, see it’s enormity. From a small human perspective, it is almost impossible to see the top of a Redwood tree unless the wind might blow the tip in a favorable direction. Looking up, there is a web of branches and leaves. Core branches extend directly from the trunk, bigger branches stem out from those, and so on until there are tiny twigs. Each length is coated in lush green leaves, seemingly millions of leaves, all the way up to the top. Trees like this are impossibly large. Sticking so far out of the ground into the sky, Redwood trees stand with remarkable strength. Now, focus on the top of the tree. Thin and fragile, it is the newest growth on the tree. Working down, follow all the branches, follow the trunk, as it expands becoming more thick and sturdy. All the way down, this powerful tree keeps going until finally it reaches the ground. Under the ground are massive roots, connecting the tree to the soil.

Consider this. For such a large tree, it was once a small sapling. Before it was a sapling, it was just a seed. No matter how high up the top of the tree is, how record-breakingly tall that tree grows, its roots remain in the soil from which it grew.

Trees contain an immense amount of wisdom. Humans struggle to connect with and find their roots. Unlike a tree, humans are free to roam about. Similar to a tree, humans can grow to be quite large. Egos, careers, success, monetary value, pride- these things can build up a very tall tale. Without humility, those things are just the flimsy tips of an uprooted tree. Humility is the ability to stay connected.

Humility originates from the word humus. Humus means the darkest material of soil. Practicing humility means getting down to right size as part of the greater whole. We are no more the tree that we are each of it’s parts, it’s roots in the ground, and the ground itself.


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