A renowned plant pathologist was called in to determine why a group of trees in a particular forest were rapidly succumbing to some kind of disease. No sooner would one tree’s bark began to shrivel up and turn an ugly yellow-green, than it would quickly spread to all the trees around it. It was a terrible sight to behold.
Some trees tried to grow extra replacement layers of bark, but the increased weight usually caused these trees to tilt over and lean up against an adjacent tree. The pathologist observed this and made some notes on his clipboard, murmuring, “Mmm, hmm, this is a classic symptom. We biologists call this ‘double-barking’.”
The forest manager was seriously considering cutting down the affected trees to save the rest of the forest. The flora physician, however, quickly diagnosed the problem and rendered his verdict. He told the distraught forestry official that, although it was an ugly sight to behold, the problem infesting the trees was not really serious.
“These trees are beyond sapling age, but not yet fully mature trees. The disease they have is really only skin deep and only affects the bark. It’s not at all life-threatening to the trees. Cutting them down would be like wanting to kill someone who’s suffering from an overly-ugly case of acne. Don’t worry. Just let nature take its course and they’ll soon be just fine.”
As he packed up his mobile diagnostic kit he looked out over the forest, mischievously smiled and said, “In fact, it would be quite accurate to say that their bark is much worse than their blight!”