Wind, rain, and other weather related events can be challenging for trees. After some devastating floods and hurricanes or tornadoes, we may have seen fallen trees, their roots severed from the ground. Television cameras capture pictures of the aftermath of disasters in other areas. It's hard to fathom how life changing those events can be unless you've lived through one or more of them.
In front of the beach house where my son and I stayed for eight days near Pahoa, Hawaii stood a coconut palm that looked like it might once have been blown over in a strong wind. But this palm didn't lose its attachment to the ground. Its roots tenaciously gripped the earth. Though its trunk grew sideways for a while, eventually the trunk grew tall again. This palm had several coconuts in it, a sign that it's now a healthy tree.
The owners ringed the palm with lava rocks, so abundant in that area. It's apparent they value and nurture the tree.
Like much of Hawaii, that area has seen strong winds and many lava flows from volcanic eruptions. In 2018, an eruption from the Kilauea Volcano brought lava flows precariously close to the town of Pahoa and wiped out some nearby communities.
When devastating natural disasters occur, lives can be forever altered. Communities, people, animals, trees and other plants that survive usually find a way to move forward in spite of the loss.
That's what happened in the Pahoa area. After the eruption, people got together and figured out what their neighbors needed. They found a way to provide those things. They gathered the items in buildings where people who had lost everything could restock and spend time with people who cared.
Many times when I stepped out of the lovely beach house that felt like home to us for a short time, I walked around the coconut palm and marveled at how well it adapted to whatever knocked it flat years before. It looked so healthy and productive.
It's one of many signs of hope around us that even in tough times it's possible to survive and, even, to thrive, especially when we are surrounded by people who care.