People who live in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area are well accustomed to the dozens of trees that tend to fall into our streets during our monsoon storms. Yet an arborist will tell you that the reason why the entirety of trees (not just their branches) uplift out of the earth during the monsoon season is not attributed to the strong winds as much as it is to the shallow, narrow root structures of these trees. Typically, a healthy root structure expands beyond the length of the canopy of a tree and run deep into the ground. However, the drip emitters, which waters the trees once they are planted, tend to be placed no more than a foot away from the trunk of the tree, and unless the landscape company or homeowner is knowledgeable of good watering practices, it rarely moves from this position. This nonsensical practice eventually leads to the disincentive of the tree roots to expand any more than a few feet away from the trunk. Moreover, the watering tends to be short and shallow, thereby keeping the roots shallow as well. This type of poor quality watering contributes to weak root structures that succumb to wind storms without much resistance – leading to their eventual demise.
Sadly, these trees experience a quality of life that is not much different from our own, in a metaphorical sense. Our culture does not promote an environment for decent grounding. In fact, we are encouraged in our society to be relentlessly busy. Every minute spent not doing something “productive”, in our understanding of the word, is time wasted. The pressure to be busy bodies has made us quite susceptible to stress, and stress releases adrenaline and cortisol through the adrenal glands resulting in our “fight or flight” behavior, which in turn can generate very irritable (if not angry) emotional responses. Chronic exposure to cortisol can suppress the immune system, produce acne, increase blood pressure, and contribute to obesity.
Similar to the trees we see along our streets as we drive to our next destination in frightening traffic, we stir up the weather in our physical bodies with constant exposure to stress. The oncoming storm builds until our emotions become so turbulent that we have difficulty controlling what we say or do. Eventually this type behavior entrenches unhealthy habits in our psyche, and we may succumb to disease as a result of them.
To put simply, the rat race that we participate in does not allow us to spend enough time watering our root structure by caring for ourselves and spending time with our loved ones. Our roots become weak while our relationships suffer. If we do not take the opportunity to slow down and relax, there is a good chance that the storms that we create within ourselves will cause us to fall.