Burning rocks, breathing trees. LO24026

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 02/22/00

Replying to LO24001 --

Dear Organlearners,

Andrew Campona < ACampnona@aol.com > writes:

>But here is the most fascinating one for me tonight. The
>average tree is 80% water. The average water storing plant,
>the beloved 'succulents' of At de Lange's deserts, nice
>paradox, or is it, are over 95% water....about the same as
>a human. Is that right At?

Greetings Andrew,

It often exceeds 99%! That makes them extremely vulnerable to other forms
of life seeking water. Thus they have developed a dazzling repertoire of
ways to protect themselves. Yet in none of these ways they offend their
"predators". We can learn much from them in non-offensive defension.

One thing which they cannot defend themselves to, is too much rain
followed by a spell of freezing weather. Their soft cells burst when the
the liquid in the cell freezes. We can learn much from this. Changes on
the "cell level" of our organisations can easily become mortal. Changes
which involve every member of the organisation (including its executive
members) can easily become mortal to that organisation.

The biggest succulent in the world is the baobab tree (Adansonia
digitata). A tree a couple of thousand years old can have a circumference
of more than 100 feet and weigh several hundred tonnes. Yet it can rot
like every other succulent. It is a sad sight for sore eyes to see such a
giant rotting away. The dry material which is finally left over, can be
compressed into a bag and be carried away by one person.

Corporations, even the big global ones, can rot away like a baobab tree.
It does not happen every day. But it does happen. Some ten years ago the
Limpopo valley (where the tragic floods now are) had a very wet late
summer like now. Early that winter, before the baobabs had time to loose
some of their water and thus lower the freezing points in their cells due
to a higher concentration of solutes, a very cold spell was swept up into
the Limpopo valley -- something most unusual. I was there a couple of
weeks later. It reminded me very much of the Black Friday some seventy
years ago in the world of commerce.

The "kingdom" of succulents which spans dozens of plant families is an
enigma to paleontologists. A succulent plant leaves by its very nature no
fossil record -- memories of the past.

>Go listen with trees.

Touch them.

Have you ever carressed the cool trunk of a baobab tree in the inferno of
the sun taking a steady aim at at you while not intending to take any
prisoner. Standing with your back against its trunk allow you to cool off
enough to make it to the next one. If our organisations were but baobab
trees by becoming Learning Organisations.

>Lift the water of your soul - burn it to your heaven.

Of course, do it spontaneously like the trees do.

>Thank you for listening if you did.

Thank you for speaking up spontaneously which you did.

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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