Trees,Topsoil and People

When we went to Alaska last summer I noticed that the trees were very short.  I learned that this is because to permafrost.  There is very little topsoil there. The plants only have a 100-day growth period per year because of the cold and snow.  Some trees even fall over because of their lack of root structure, due to the permafrost.  They called this a “drunken forest”. 

 Because of this extremely slow growth, when there was a devastating forest fire ten years ago in Alaska, the trees still have not recovered.  This is very much in contrast to Hilton Head, South Carolina where Hurricane Matthew hit two years ago.  Because of the lush landscape, warm weather and rich soil, you can hardly tell it happened. 

Drunken Forest in Alaska
Golf Course in Hilton Head just after Hurricane Matthew

Harbor Town Golf Course, January 2019

People are either like the trees in Alaska or in Hilton Head. Our health is greatly affected by the amount of “topsoil” or resilience that has been cultivated over time.    Your topsoil will likely be thin if you are eating junk food on a regular basis, sleeping little, not drinking water, and not exercising. This will make you much more prone to infections.  If you seem to catch every cold that goes around the office, check your diet and other lifestyle factors.  Eating nutritious whole foods, regular exercise, and enough sleep, will give your body the deep topsoil or resilience it needs to ward off sickness.

Likewise, if you have had traumatic experiences due to a difficult childhood, or problems as an adult, then you may had limited emotional resilience to handle difficult issues.  By working with a counselor or other knowledgeable person, you can understand and work through your past and have a better ability to handle life.  Cultivating a strong faith through prayer, Bible study and Christian fellowship can also increase your emotional and spiritual strength.  

Practicing good physical, spiritual and emotional habits are like the well-worn path in the Yukon that is still visible today 120 years later.  These habits blaze the way for our body, mind and soul to help us remain productive and healthy for our entire lives. 

 Check out these other articles for some ideas on how to increase the depth of your personal “topsoil”.  

How to Change an Unhealthy Habit
Ginger’s Food Rules
Sugar, Friend or Foe?
Healthy Gluten-Free Eating on a Budget

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