One Step at a Time

I read the most inspiring story recently about a man from India named Jadav Payeng.  He is also know as the “Forest Man of India”.  Since 1979 this man has systematically changed the landscape of a barren island in northeast India in the Brahmaputra river.  It  all started in 1979 when he noticed piles of dead snakes that had perished on his home island because they couldn’t find any shade.  This spot on his island was just a deserted, sandy wasteland filled only with driftwood.   Payeng was grief stricken by the sight of these dead snakes and took it upon himself to begin planting trees.  Everyday he planted trees.  So many trees he lost count – he estimates there are hundreds of thousands of tree on the island now.  He literally created a forest where before there had been nothing.  His forest is now the home to tigers, deer, monkeys, elephants and a large assortment of birds.  He has been honored for his achievements, including the prestigious Padma Shri award, one of India’s highest awards to honor civilians.  So many aspects of this story struck me as amazing.  The sheer magnitude of his accomplishments in restoring the landscape of his island and creating a refuge for wildlife to survive and thrive is awe inspiring.  I think what I love the most though is the fact that he saw a problem; and not just a small problem and he wasn’t daunted by the task to bring life back to the wasteland.  He just tackled it one day at a time, one step at a time, one tree at a time.  How many times have I encountered a problem that seemed insurmountable and given up before even taking one or two steps towards fixing the problem?  How many times did I give up on something because it was taking too long to see any fruits of my labor?  This man had a vision and he was patient and dedicated and he didn’t give up.   To this day he continues to plant trees and tend to his forest.  His story reminds us that miracles don’t happen overnight.  It takes time, energy, effort and perseverance for magic to happen.  I’ll remember Payeng the next time I want to give up.  Get back to basics and just take things One Step at a Time!

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