Norfolk Island Pine

Never let the expectations of others, or even your own past history, curtail your growth.

This Norfolk Island Pine is midway between my home and office. No other tree in the vicinity is doing what this tree is doing. What is it thinking? Where is it going?

Driving past this adventurous tree took me back more than 65 years ago to one of those crystalline moments in time you never forget. I was 16 and the president of our local 4H Club. The youngest and smallest member of the Club was Kermit Sutherland, aged 11.

Driving past the Sutherland farm one day, I saw Kermit out in the road, doing what farm kids do for fun when they’ve escaped the chores: kicking pebbles down the dirt road.

The Sutherlands were a respected family, but like most local farming families, theirs was a hard-scrabble existence. And there were a lot of Sutherland children, 8 or more I remember. In other words: proud, but poor.

I stopped the pickup truck, looked down at Kermit, and said, “Hey, Kermit, how you going?” Kermit looked up at me for a long time, and finally said, “The difficult we will do immediately. The impossible will take a little longer.” I was speechless. What’s left to say? I can’t remember what I mumbled in reply, but I’ll never forget that little, raggedy kid, with an idea that knew no limits.

Kermit has spent his later life organizing prayer breakfasts in California. I guess he’s still working on the impossible.