When I saw this tree struggling to reach through the bars, at first my heart went out to it. Then I realized that the water in its cells is slowly expanding the roots, and eventually it will win. Lord knows, when we are behind bars, we cannot break them with our hands. But in time, this tree will manage that feat.
How many years has it been struggling to overcome the barriers humans have imposed on it? It has been a very quiet struggle: I don’t think anyone has noticed it. Even as I was taking this picture a gay couple rudely jostled me on the sidewalk as if I weren’t even there. Imagine how totally indifferent they (and all passersby) were to this tree!
Over the course of my lifetime, I want to be like this tree. I want to put down roots that gradually expand and with gentle, unrelenting pressure, overcome some of the things that people have done to this planet and to each other. To some extent that is what doing zazen can accomplish. Ghandi is another example. Maybe you can think of some others?
But look at the giant redwoods. Perhaps over the ages it is only vegetation that is truly this strong!