The fundamental difference between a spruce and a pine

. 2 min read

Continuing the nature theme of our articles here in the past few days, let's talk about trees. Specifically, about spruces and pines, and how they are different. And how that difference affects you.

You may already know the answer from your biology class or by simply observing the two species in nature, but for those of you whose interests lie elsewhere, let me tell you: the biggest difference is that the roots of a spruce lie horizontally near the surface of the ground, while those of a pine extend vertically downwards into the ground.

See how fundamental that is?

The spruce can fall in a moderate storm. No storm can break a pine. Or it takes at least a true black swan event to make a pine fall - its foundations are way too firmly laid for it to collapse in a lesser event. And if a pine does fall, it breaks from the trunk. A spruce goes down in one piece, the roots sticking out in a 90-degree angle from where they were before.

So the question remains: are you a spruce or a pine? I'm actually not sure what the right or better answer is. On the one hand, the pine is very firm, and no ordinary wind can break it. On the other hand, the spruce, when it falls, it keeps its form - it doesn't break in itself, it merely falls down in one piece.

If you're a pine, your life and identity are firmly rooted in the bedrock, allowing you to stand all kinds of hardships and adversities without losing your hold on life. You're resilient. You have a strong sense of identity. You have firm opinions, principles, and values. You cannot be easily stopped in your pursuits. You work your way in almost any circumstances. But if something overpowering appears on your path, something so massive even you cannot stand it, you'll break - your life, your identity, your principles and your values, they will be cut in two with no chance of repair to the original state.

If you're a spruce, you fall down fairly easily. People say something mean to you, or the circumstances seem to be against you, and you break down. But your identity stays intact. You stay in one piece - there's nothing to repair - you just need to stand up again and the roots take hold of the ground again, allowing you to stand up like before. At least until another storm pushes you down again.

Which is you? Or is there a third option?