A young woman goes to see a wise old woman to ask her how to cope with sadness, solitude and her own lack of commitment.
The wise old woman points to magnificent forest of bamboo. “When I came here, there was nothing but dry earth. All I had was some bamboo seeds and some fern seeds, so I sowed them and watered them carefully.
The ferns soon started to come up, but there was no sign of any bamboo. The next year the fern was out in force but still no bamboo. And it went on like that until the fifth year when – to my great surprise – bamboo shoots sprang up among the ferns!
Look at this forest! For all those years the bamboo was strengthening its roots in preparation for growing upwards! Perhaps you are not lost, you’re just busy strengthening your roots?”
And you, what are you busy strengthening so you can go further?
Jutta is the person with the strongest roots that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
She is the very image of a tree rooted in the earth, because she has never left the town where she was born, she speaks the same dialect no matter which language she is using and she single-handedly represents a region and a local way of life.
So far, there’s nothing really remarkable about this story – until this country girl puts on her rucksack, walks across India or finds an excuse to chat with any strangers that she comes across in an unknown country.
She has an open-mindedness lacking in many city dwellers who consider themselves cosmopolitan. I’ve certainly learnt a lesson of humility from her. She has always said that she admires my life as a multilingual businesswoman and serial homing pigeon. And yet,
staying with the tree analogy, it is Jutta who has branches that extend in all directions touching on philosophy, religions, open-mindedness, complete lack of judgement, and is an example to many of us.
She successfully combines the deepest roots with the longest branches. But she still lives in the place where I was also born.
Who is the “tree” with branches longer than yours that you admire in the place where you were born? Tell them. They will be pleased to hear it, and leaning against their trunk will do you the world of good. I know from experience.