Miracle of Survival

Miracle of Survival

The arborist explained our gorgeous clump of giant bamboo had to be cut down to protect the power lines and our home. It had grown from a tiny clump laboriously cut out from a friend’s garden (with a chainsaw and giant axe) to five times its height and was ever-expanding in girth. It was with considerable sadness that I watched the 40-50 feet tall stalks cut down one by one. The adjacent Japanese tulip tree had long been there before the bamboo clump took over. One of my mother’s favorites, I had uprooted it from my parents’ garden, so it was precious to me. Since I wanted to preserve that tree, it would be impossible to use a stump grinder to dig out the bamboo stumps that grew out of the dense roots running at least 2 feet deep below the surface. No shovel would cut through that density. This would mean constantly cutting back new bamboo shoots growing from the stumps.

Throwing papaya seeds on the bamboo stump bed was a complete experiment. Would any papaya be able to grow in such a densely packed and living root system?

To our astonishment, a tiny papaya tree began to emerge in the late spring. Meanwhile, we continued to trim off all emerging bamboo shoots.

That first emerging papaya tree grew next to a brick and some tightly packed bamboo stumps. I felt tempted to move it. How could it survive in such a pinched area? But the baby tree continued to grow. It grew around the brick and the stumps with a ledge in its trunk. One miraculous day, it even produced blooms. Several weeks later, the first bloom turned into a tiny fruit.

Today, five months later, at the end of October, that first papaya tree is now taller than the adjacent Japanese tulip tree with large, green papaya covering its trunk. Other papaya trees have grown up around it, much thinner, younger, and a few have some small fruit, too.

The bamboo stalks have long since stopped coming up. The papaya trees took care of that for us.

What is nature teaching? That there are natural, creative solutions to what seem like insurmountable issues. Here, yet again, there is a magnificent miracle of not only survival but also of thriving against all odds.

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