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成长的树根

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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.   在我还是小孩子的时候,我有一个老邻居叫吉布斯医生。他不像我所认识的任何一个医生。我们在他的院子里玩耍,他从不对我们大喊大叫。我记得他是一个非常和蔼的人。 

吉布斯医生不拯救人性命的时候就去种树。他的住所占地10英亩,他的人生目标就是将它变成一片森林。 

他还告诉我用水浇灌的树的根是如何的浅,而那些没有浇水的树的根必须钻入深深的泥土获得水分。我将他的话理解为:深根是十分宝贵的。 
所以他从不给他的树浇水。他种了一棵橡树,每天早上,他不是给它浇水,而是用一张卷起的报纸抽打它。“啪!噼!砰!”我问他为什么这样做,他说是为了引起树的注意。 

在我离家两年后,吉布斯医生就去世了。我常常经过他的房子,看着那些25年前我曾看着他种下的那些树。如今它们已是像石头般硬朗了。枝繁叶茂、生气勃勃。这些树在早晨醒过来,拍打着胸脯,啜饮着苦难的汁水。 

几年前我也种下两三棵树。整整一个夏天我都坚持为它们浇水。为它们喷杀虫剂,为它们祈祷。整整9平方码大的地方。两年的悉心呵护,结果两棵树弱不禁风。每当寒风吹起,它们就颤抖起来,枝叶直打战。娇里娇气的两棵树。 

吉布斯医生的树真是有趣。逆境和折磨带给它们的益处似乎是舒适和安逸永远无法给予的。 

每天晚上睡觉前,我都要看看两个儿子。我俯视着他们那幼小的身体,生命就在其中起落沉浮。我总是为他们祈祷,总是祈祷他们的生活能一帆风顺。但后来我想是该改变我的祈祷词的时候了。 

这改变是因为将吹在我们要害的不可避免的寒风。我知道我的孩子们将遇到困难,我祈祷他们不会幼稚而脆弱。在某些地方总会有寒风吹过。 

所以我改变了我的祈祷词。因为不管我们愿不愿意,生活总是艰难的。我们已祈祷了太多的安逸,但却少有实现。我们所需要做的是祈祷深植我们的信念之根,这样我们就不会被雨打风吹所伤害。   

1、 注:这句话的直译是:即使情况允许(发火)的时候,他(吉布斯医生)也会非常和蔼。circumstances: n. [复数形式]情况,境况。warrant: vt. 使有(正当)理由,成为……的根据 

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

3、 horticulture [5hC:tikQltFE] n. 园艺(学) 

4、 weed out 剔除,清除 

5、 weenie [5wi:ni] n. 牛肉熏香肠,猪牛肉混合香肠 

6、 moisture [5mCistFE] n. 湿度,水分    

7、 go to glory 死 

8、 every now and again 时而,不时  
9、 granite [5grAnit] n. 花岗石,坚如磐石 

10、 robust [rE5bQst] a. 强健的,茁壮的              

11、 black coffee 此处喻指树所遭受的磨难 

12、 solid [5sClid] a. 连续的,完整的             

13、 yard [ja:d] n. 码,一码约为0.914米 

14、 coddle [5kCdl] vt. 悉心照料,娇养,溺爱     

15、 wait on 服侍(某人);招待(顾客) 

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

17、 deprivation [7depri5veiFEn] n. 剥夺,丧失 

18、 the Eternal [宗教用语]上帝               

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

20、 asunder [E5sQndE] ad. 碎,散


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