Within days of tipping over and exposing its roots to the world above ground, my neighbor’s maple tree has gone leave-crumbling crispy. Something that had been huge and strong and green and alive turned into something broken and splintered and fragile and dead.
Without its familiar roots burrowing into the same ground and soaking in the same water it has for the past forty years, it is nothing. It couldn’t find another way to take water, or hold on until someone could right it. It simply had no mechanism for adapting to its new circumstances. It is dead.
That’s why I always thought those “What kind of tree would you be?” questions didn’t make much sense – what kind of tree would I be? I wouldn’t – I’d have been dead decades ago.