The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a famous structure in Italy for its unintended tilt to one side. It had been leaning for more than 800 years. The cause of the lean was determined to the fact that it was erected in a weak and unstable soil. It was leaning more than 5 degrees before the multimillion dollar restoration and stabilization in the past decade that reduced its lean to less than 4 degrees. Experts claimed that it will be stable for at least another 300 years.
In front of our house is a leaning tree. It has a tilt of about 60 degrees. I am not sure how long it has been leaning. As far as I know, when we moved in to our house seven years ago, it was already been like this. (Good thing is our house is not leaning.) I am not sure also what caused the tree to lean. I could only speculate.
There could be many causes of why a tree would lean. One is a weak root structure causing inadequate anchor. Another is if it is competing with another tree nearby causing it to lean away from the more dominant tree and towards the open sunlight. One more reason is if it was exposed to a natural disaster like a very strong wind or storm in the past that almost uprooted it or pushed it to lean.
After considering the possibilities, I would like to believe that the last reason I mentioned was the cause of why our tree leaned. Maybe years ago, in our tree’s early life, it was subjected to a tornado-like wind gust that almost shoved it down. But it kept its grip to life. It defied the force that almost brought it down. And somehow, it has this innate strength that continues to defy the pull of gravity now. Moreover, it continued to grow and flourish.
I really don’t mind that it is leaning. I have no intention to correct its tilt. There is no reason to. In fact, I like it. It is a constant reminder to us that this tree has weathered a great storm, and its tilt is a testament to its tenacity and resilience.
Are we also weathered and worn-out by the storms? Do we also cling with such steadfastness even if we are almost down to our knees? Borrowing a quote from the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche (which is also the inspiration of Kelly Clarkson’s popular song): “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”
How many more years will our tree display its lean for all the world to see? Only time will tell.