There once was a tree. It was an unusual tree for it had grown on the edge of a slope on a clearing on the top of a hill, where strong winds blew.
Looking at this tree, one would think it was different. It did not grow straight or tall like other trees that seemed to touch the sky. And it stood alone.
One day, a little boy whose family lived in the valley down below climbed the hill and chanced upon the unusual tree.
The boy noticed how it leaned precariously towards one side, and how it wasn't very tall, its branches gnarled and twisted by the wind.
He approached the solitary tree and placed his little hand upon it. Then he looked up and said, 'Hello, Mr. Tree. I couldn't help but notice how you're all alone and how you curl to one side instead of growing straight and tall. Are you alright?'
The tree looked down into the thoughtful little boy's eyes and replied, 'There used to be other trees here, they were magnificently tall with limbs that touched the clouds. But when storms came, they chose to fight the wind and got knocked down instead.'
'But you are still here, why is that?' asked the little boy.
'Would you like to know?' said the tree. 'I remain because I have learned to accept the storms and the harsh winds they bring. And I have chosen to be grateful for everything that happens.'
'But how can you be grateful when something bad happens?' asked the little boy.
'The sun that gives me life can also burn, and the rain that nourishes my roots can also drown. You must take the good with the bad, or take none at all'.
'But aren't you worried that the wind will blow you off the ledge one day?' said the little boy.
'That may happen, no one really knows,' said the tree. 'So I hold on as tight as I can, I lean and bend and sway, and to this day I have not broken nor fallen, for I have made the wind my friend.'
'Your friend?' asked the puzzled little boy.
'Why yes,' said the tree. 'You see, when difficulties come, it is far better to accept the things we can not change rather than fight a battle we can not win.'
'You are a wise tree,' replied the boy. 'And although you are different, I see now that you are very beautiful.'
Touched by the kindness of the little boy, the tree replied, 'May I give you a gift?'
'Why yes, Mr. Tree, that is if you don't mind,' said the little boy.
'I'd like to share a secret with you,' said the tree. 'Perhaps one day you will understand.'
'Whenever the winds blow hard, and you see me from the valley down below, or from up here on this slope, swaying and bending a great deal, do not worry about me for I am not in distress.
'While it may look like I am being harmed, I am not. You see, I sway because I live, and I bend because I love. When I do both it is because I am embracing the wind so I can dance with it.'
'Dance with the wind?' asked the little boy curiously.
'Yes. Now here is my gift for you,' said the tree.
'Let my twisted limbs and windblown manner always be a reminder to you of what life really is about-- it isn't about having everything you want, it isn't about always being safe. Life is about learning to live and love and thrive despite anything that comes your way.
'Life is a dance with the wind,' continued the tree. 'And the sooner you learn to dance with the things you can not tame, the happier you will be.'
And so it was that even when the little boy turned into a man, every time he'd look at the slope atop the hill and see the solitary tree leaning and bending and swaying in the air, he'd smile and think to himself, 'My friend the tree is happy today, for I can see him dancing with the wind'.