The Survivors

The-SurvivorsEvery so often we hear of diseases as well as disasters that have affected communities, countries, and sometimes even the entire world. One global happening that most people don’t remember reading about is the influenza epidemic that occurred during the time of World War I. The global death toll from that one out-break killed millions of people. There were far more soldiers dead from the influenza than were killed in the war. It makes you wonder why there were people that were minimally affect while others quickly died from the disease. Was it a genetic pre-disposition to fighting infection, or was it just by chance? Another example is when a tornado can rip through a community and level nearly everything in its path, yet there remains one or two homes in that path that were nearly untouched by the storm. We even see homes whose walls should have collapsed like all the other homes during severe flooding, but they simply stood strong and just endured the crisis.

I was visiting with a client several days ago and happened to notice a giant Dutch Elm tree in the neighbor’s yard. Of all the times I’ve been on that street, I never noticed it. I would wager to say the trunk on it is at least 18 feet around. The surprising thing about the tree is that it survived the Dutch Elm disease that wiped out nearly all Dutch Elms in Mason City back in the 1960’s. The mature ones were those that died first. The tree I speak of was certainly mature at that time. I wouldn’t be surprised if that tree is over 100 years old. It caused me to wonder why it survived. Was it but chance, or was it because it was tucked away in the back yard of a home not anywhere near another dying Dutch Elm? Containing a contagion is indeed key to keeping others alive, but that tree would have had insects flying from infected trees to that tree. Still it is alive and doing quite well.

We really can’t give any scientific reason why the thinks of which I speak other than mere chance or some unknown forms of intervention. It sort of reminds me of the movie Unbreakable. Perhaps there are singular plants, animals, places and things that we can refer to as the survivors.

Joe Chodur

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