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She's still blooming

The tree doctor gave the death sentence. Your tree is dying. She will not last through the winter. She has bloomed for the last time. Say your good-byes now.

Doctors say things like that. When Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary biologist, was 40, he was told he had eight months to live. He studied his disease and found research that showed the median survival time was eight months. But he realized that half of those in whom the disease was diagnosed survived longer than eight months. Understanding statistics enabled him to see that some people survived much longer, giving him the strength to fight on and change his apparent death sentence into the hopeful realization that he might live longer. He lived 20 more years and died of an unrelated cause.

I trusted in the tree doctor’s knowledge and prepared for the highly likely possibility that it was over. But I never fully believed him. He knew lots of trees, but not my tree. And my tree is still here, gloriously blooming in spring, one more time.

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