A Nature Metaphor

Have you ever seen tree rings? You know, when they cut a tree down and the trunk reveals these dark rings - some are wide and some are narrow. The rings show the growth of the tree from each year it was born. If you see a large difference between two rings, that means the tree thrived that year and showed significant growth. Narrow rings mean the exact opposite. In order to understand the growth patterns throughout the year, you can examine the region the tree came from. You can look up weather anomalies, and any significant environmental changes, to discover why it did or did not grow.

The more I read about this, the more I realize how human it makes a tree sound. A tree made of larger rings is more porous than trees made of narrow rings. Narrow rings are stronger and more condensed, and when made into violins they "instill a superior tone and brilliance in violins." Dense rings are less likely to survive the stresses placed on violins.

So what do we take from that? It’s okay if you say nothing- when reading this subject, I had no intentions of finding some kind of “life” metaphor. They are just facts, but when I look back at my short life, I can highlight years of small growth, large growth, and even no growth.

The “growth” I am referring to is my sense of self. My maturity- emotionally, and mentally.

Those times when I was constantly reaching to start a successful life at a young age and rather than being patient- I wanted it all within a certain time frame. I was building those wide rings, allowing myself to buckle under the pressures of life. My emotional state became fragile and my thinking was unclear. I allowed myself to become porous and let life’s pressures penetrate me.

As I got older, and started to realize life is different for everyone and not everyone will have the same path, I began to celebrate the little accomplishments and small steps that would ultimately lead me to stability. My rings became narrow and those small bits of growth that I constantly put into practice made it easier to continue on a path that allowed me to keep taking steps forward, rather than the practice of “two steps forward, one step back.”

I let the narrow rings build, and I became stronger, my skin is thicker, my mind is quicker, I feel confident in myself. Maybe one day I will put forth into the world my own “Superior tone and Brilliance,” as is my hope for everyone of you.


Written by Kayla, Seattle Ambassador

More work from Kayla can be found here, here, and get to know her here.