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Be careful what you nip in the bud

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POSTED: July 16, 2012 6:00 p.m.

How many times have we heard the expression “nip it in the bud?”

I have learned to not be too hasty in nipping things in the bud. We may not be too happy in the end, and we may be depriving ourselves of good fortune. The trick is to know when to do it and when not to.

Thirty years ago, this tree was a sapling hiding beneath the foliage of my beautiful azalea bush. The tree’s first leaves were hardly noticeable — I had to look twice to see them. How did the seed get there? Probably a bird or a squirrel planted it.

The seed grew and grew, reaching the stage of a mighty oak.

Now mind you, the azalea bush was full grown at the time and attractive. Now it is hardly noticeable. Even when in full bloom in spring, you have to look twice to see it. The big oak nearly hides the house and over shadows the bush.

The tree is a stately white oak, measuring 74 inches around its trunk. It can grow to hundreds of feet high and probably outlive several human generations. It can spread its branches to shade a large area of the yard and half of the house’s roof. It adds value.

Standing on the back lawn, looking over the roof, the majestic oak can be seen with its branches weaving and waving from a violent wind, protecting the house.

Its shadow over the roof stops the hot rays of the sun, saving expensive energy. Even if the oak is cut down, its trunk can be converted into lumber for furniture or houses, used as fire wood and on and on. The tree does something. It serves a purpose.

But what about the azalea bush? What would it have to offer? What if I had said to myself when I first noticed the tree sapling: “I’ll just nip it in the bud; that will be the end of it. It will not affect the appearance of the azalea bush.”

All that would remain would be the bush, doing nothing but blooming once a year, showing its beautiful buds and looking pretty. What other value would it have? Oak trees are pretty, too.

It’s difficult to imagine what miraculous things nature can deal us. The question is: Will we recognize them?

No matter where we go in nature, there are all kinds of miraculous developments — things that tell us something, things we can hardly believe, things we don’t understand. We must learn to look for them and allow them to develop.

If we nip them in the bud at the time, we may be depriving ourselves of the most desirable things in life.

Francis Bond lives in Richmond Hill.

 

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