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成長的樹根

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When I was growing up, I had an old neighbor named Dr. Gibbs. He didn’t look like any doctor I’d ever known. He never yelled at us for playing in his yard. I remember him as someone who was a lot nicer than 1)circumstances warranted. 

When Dr. Gibbs wasn’t saving lives, he was planting trees. His house sat on ten acres, and his life’s goal was to make it a forest. 

The good doctor had some interesting theories concerning plant 2)husbandry. He came from the “No pain, no gain” school of 3)horticulture. He never watered his new trees, which flew in the face of conventional wisdom. Once I asked why. He said that watering plants spoiled them, and that if you water them, each successive tree generation will grow weaker and weaker. So you have to make things rough for them and 4)weed out the 5)weenie trees early on. 

He talked about how watering trees made for shallow roots, and how trees that weren’t watered had to grow deep roots in search of 6)moisture. I took him to mean that deep roots were to be treasured. 
So he never watered his trees. He’d plant an oak and, instead of watering it every morning, he’d beat it with a rolled-up newspaper. Smack! Slap! Pow! I asked him why he did that, and he said it was to get the tree’s attention. 

Dr. Gibbs 7)went to glory a couple of years after I left home. 8)Every now and again, I walked by his house and looked at the trees that I’d watched him plant some twenty-five years ago. They’re 9)granite strong now. Big and 10)robust. Those trees wake up in the morning and beat their chests and drink their 11)coffee black. 

I planted a couple of trees a few years back. Carried water to them for a 12)solid summer. Sprayed them. Prayed over them. The whole nine 13)yards. Two years of 14)coddling has resulted in trees that expect to be 15)waited on hand and foot. Whenever a cold wind blows in, they tremble and chatter their branches. Sissy trees. 

Funny things about those trees of Dr. Gibbs’. 16)Adversity and 17)deprivation seemed to benefit them in ways comfort and ease never could. 
Every night before I go to bed, I check on my two sons. I stand over them and watch their little bodies, the rising and falling of life within. I often pray for them. Mostly I pray that their lives will be easy. But lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to change my prayer. 

This change has to do with the inevitability of cold winds that hit us at the core. I know my children are going to encounter hardship, and I’m praying they won’t be naive. There’s always a cold wind blowing somewhere. 

So I’m changing my prayer. Because life is tough, whether we want it to be or not. Too many times we pray for ease, but that’s a prayer seldom met. What we need to do is pray for roots that reach deep into 18)the Eternal, so when the rains fall and the winds blow, we won’t be 19)swept 20)asunder.   在我還是小孩子的時候,我有一個老鄰居叫吉布斯醫生。他不像我所認識的任何一個醫生。我們在他的院子里玩耍,他從不對我們大喊大叫。我記得他是一個非常和藹的人。 

吉布斯醫生不拯救人性命的時候就去種樹。他的住所占地10英畝,他的人生目標就是將它變成一片森林。 

他還告訴我用水澆灌的樹的根是如何的淺,而那些沒有澆水的樹的根必須鉆入深深的泥土獲得水分。我將他的話理解為:深根是十分寶貴的。 
所以他從不給他的樹澆水。他種了一棵橡樹,每天早上,他不是給它澆水,而是用一張卷起的報紙抽打它。“啪!噼!砰!”我問他為什么這樣做,他說是為了引起樹的注意。 

在我離家兩年后,吉布斯醫生就去世了。我常常經過他的房子,看著那些25年前我曾看著他種下的那些樹。如今它們已是像石頭般硬朗了。枝繁葉茂、生氣勃勃。這些樹在早晨醒過來,拍打著胸脯,啜飲著苦難的汁水。 

幾年前我也種下兩三棵樹。整整一個夏天我都堅持為它們澆水。為它們噴殺蟲劑,為它們祈禱。整整9平方碼大的地方。兩年的悉心呵護,結果兩棵樹弱不禁風。每當寒風吹起,它們就顫抖起來,枝葉直打戰。嬌里嬌氣的兩棵樹。 

吉布斯醫生的樹真是有趣。逆境和折磨帶給它們的益處似乎是舒適和安逸永遠無法給予的。 

每天晚上睡覺前,我都要看看兩個兒子。我俯視著他們那幼小的身體,生命就在其中起落沉浮。我總是為他們祈禱,總是祈禱他們的生活能一帆風順。但后來我想是該改變我的祈禱詞的時候了。 

這改變是因為將吹在我們要害的不可避免的寒風。我知道我的孩子們將遇到困難,我祈禱他們不會幼稚而脆弱。在某些地方總會有寒風吹過。 

所以我改變了我的祈禱詞。因為不管我們愿不愿意,生活總是艱難的。我們已祈禱了太多的安逸,但卻少有實現。我們所需要做的是祈禱深植我們的信念之根,這樣我們就不會被雨打風吹所傷害。   

1、 注:這句話的直譯是:即使情況允許(發火)的時候,他(吉布斯醫生)也會非常和藹。circumstances: n. [復數形式]情況,境況。warrant: vt. 使有(正當)理由,成為……的根據 

2、 husbandry [5hQzb[ndri] n. 耕作;家政,節儉 

3、 horticulture [5hC:tikQltFE] n. 園藝(學) 

4、 weed out 剔除,清除 

5、 weenie [5wi:ni] n. 牛肉熏香腸,豬牛肉混合香腸 

6、 moisture [5mCistFE] n. 濕度,水分    

7、 go to glory 死 

8、 every now and again 時而,不時  
9、 granite [5grAnit] n. 花崗石,堅如磐石 

10、 robust [rE5bQst] a. 強健的,茁壯的              

11、 black coffee 此處喻指樹所遭受的磨難 

12、 solid [5sClid] a. 連續的,完整的             

13、 yard [ja:d] n. 碼,一碼約為0.914米 

14、 coddle [5kCdl] vt. 悉心照料,嬌養,溺愛     

15、 wait on 服侍(某人);招待(顧客) 

16、 adversity [Ed5vE:siti] n. 逆境,苦難            

17、 deprivation [7depri5veiFEn] n. 剝奪,喪失 

18、 the Eternal [宗教用語]上帝               

19、 sweep [swi:p] vt.(風等)刮起,(浪等)沖走,席卷 

20、 asunder [E5sQndE] ad. 碎,散


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