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Pattern of Life

Nature Magazine

March, 1948

PATTERN OF LIFE

By Thomas E. Hadley

When Joyce Kilmer wrote "Only God can make a Tree" he voiced the inborn faith of human beings in the universe; the evolutionary pattern of life; all growing things. It is refreshing to know that, in spite of economic booms and depressions and the rigors of war, Nature carries on in orderly, uninterrupted fashion.  Flowers bloom, birds sing, fruit ripens, rain falls, rivers continue to flow onward to seas, each reacting to natural laws, pushing out into the world of reality and solving its own particular problem.

     A tree such as the Camperdown Elm is quite expressive of life. It has a homely beauty such as characterized Lincoln's face; a gentle, rugged strength born of patience. It has found life hard and uncompromising. It has had to fight every inch of the way. It was born of a seed without choice of environment except as the wind blew and soil upon which it fell proved fruitful. Under irresistible urge it reached toward the sun and dug its roots into the soil. It sent its tiny tendrils deeper, deeper into the ground in search of food and minerals and necessities of life. And under a cosmic pattern it organized these materials into shape and form of root, into trunk and branch and leaf.  Through the course of seasons it bloomed and set about in earnest to reproduce its own seed and perpetuate the species.

     Winters came and checked its growth; drove its sap underground into hibernation, close to the breast, of Mother Earth. Winds came, and howling blizzards tried it sorely, pruning its weaker branches, stripping it of its leaves and mantle, leaving it bare and forlorn. At times it seemed that it could not survive, that the rigors of sun and storm, cold and wind, would rob it of its very life. But it grew on, twisted and gnarled and wrinkled, to a ripe old age, each year passing through the cycles of the seasons. It was vibrant and cheerful in the springtime, happy in the summer, fruitful in the fall, and worn and weather beaten in the winter. It struggled desperately to survive, and each year, at springtime, awakened to the song and cheery companionship of the birds as they built their homes and reared their young in its leafy head, and the bees as they droned through the love-making pollen season.

 Springtime's splendor, child of chance,

Summer's son of circumstance

Autumn's ageing man mature,

Winter's worldly seeds secure.

     How much like our own pattern of life. The birth without choice, the struggle to survive, the spring and summer, fall and winter; the seed we leave, not of its own choice, but of ours, which proves the undying destiny of love and life. Like the tree we have no choice of birth, but, unlike the tree, we have advanced along the evolutionary "Pattern of Life" to a choice of habitation and environment. And we in America would choose no other.

Born without choice,

But the choice is our own,

To pass on the Seed,

When the Life becomes known.

 

 


 
The years of our lives. Wow!
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