I, A Tree | Teen Ink

I, A Tree

June 21, 2022
By amaio64 BRONZE, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
amaio64 BRONZE, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

In a grassless, sunny clearing, in the maze-like green and brown woods behind my house, there stood a tree, proud and tall. The tree, however, distinguished itself from the rest. The tree was once struck by lightning. Its bark was blown off, scattered to all sides, the grass around it smothered and left scarred, with blackened veins running down its middle. But yet, the tree still stood proud and tall for years.

Where others might simply see a tree, though, I saw an inspiration. This tree, so utterly unique, with hundreds of years of life in its roots, may not have had bark to tout, or leaves to lend shade, or long branches to provide wood, but it had something far more valuable to it. It had a story, a lesson, and a personality, so long as one was willing to look for its tales and learn from its memories.

Where another might have seen a still-standing dead tree in a clearing, I saw an individual that refused to be defined by the others standing around them. I looked not at a tree, but at a person unwilling to give up their identity for acceptance; one content with being different so long as they would be themselves.

Where another might have seen a tree without bark, I saw someone unafraid to lay themselves bare to the world, showing off their strengths and owning their weaknesses. I saw someone who offered their strengths to those close to them to aid them, and who allowed their weaknesses show in order to become a better version of themselves.

Where another might have seen a tree that should have fallen, I saw a person who defied destiny. I saw a person who could get struck down time and time again and always stand back up to continue living, always defying those who want them down and out, always keeping their head up.

Where another might have seen a tree with burn marks down its side from an unlucky lightning strike, I saw someone who was scarred and unafraid to admit it. I saw a person with defining struggles and evidence of it. I saw a person who allowed the pain and strife of their vast sea of battles and draughts of luck to make them stronger and wiser in the end, yet always remaining humble, silently pushing on as the scars adorn themselves as marks of victory.

Where another always saw a tree, I saw a mirror. Where another always saw a lonely, bare, scarred tree on the verge of dying and falling over, I saw a reflection of myself. I saw the me who was not afraid to own his niche interests, even if they set him apart from everyone else, knowing he would eventually find people like him. I saw the me unafraid to admit that he struggled with social interaction because of his high-functioning autism, willing to try to make friends anyway. I saw the me who refused to stay down whenever he got pushed over, always getting right back up after ever single conflict and catastrophe that left him down in the dirt. I saw the me with scars from his struggle with depression and anxiety, the me who never let them beat him, no matter how many lightning-scars they left on him.

Whenever I gazed at the tree, I gazed at myself, and whenever I look at myself, I still see the tree. The only difference between it and me is that I will ultimately uproot myself from stagnation in order to keep pushing forward.


The author's comments:

This began as a memoir I wrote in ninth grade.  My teacher liked it so much, he asked if he could use it as a sample piece in a professional book he is publishing.  When it came time to start writing college entrance essays, I returned to the original piece and revised it.  This is the end result.


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