A tree is not solitary organism — far from it! In addition to its connection to other trees through its root system, as described in a previous blog post, it provides homes and shelter to birds and animals, to insects, moss and lichen. It “lives intimately” with all kinds of other creatures and living things. . .
As a recovering perfectionist, I understand something known in the study of human dysfunction as “unrelenting standards.” Someone with this schema, or deeply held belief or outlook, tends to see things as black or white, good or bad, the right way or the wrong way . . .
Only a few inches separated me from wide open air and a long, long way to the bottom of the canyon. No railing, no nothing. The void to my right, I kept leaning and veering to the rougher left shoulder of the path, which added to my feeling of the world being off kilter, to my doubting my sense of balance. . .
Desire can be a scary thing. Those of us who have had our desires thwarted as children have learned to lower our expectations, to settle for giving other people what they want (rather than pursuing what we want) in exchange for their approval. We don’t trust our own desire, even in the spiritual realm. . .
A tree is a creature of both the earth and the sky. Rooted, it spends its entire life in one spot. Yet, despite its stationary nature, it is anything but rigid. On the contrary, in the presence of even the slightest breeze, it bends, sways, and even speaks!
Trees are communal creatures who thrive in dense communities we call forests. In his book, The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohleben, a forester in Germany, tells of finding the remnants of a 5-foot stump of a tree that had evidently been felled at least 400-500 years ago, which was still being kept alive, without the benefit of its own photosynthesis, by the surrounding trees, which were feeding it through interconnected roots.
The Tree of Life lives on a beach in the Olympic National Park just west of Seattle, Washington. No kidding! This amazing Sitka spruce, affectionately nicknamed the Tree of Life, literally hangs suspended in midair by the strength of its lateral roots.
I’ve always had an affinity with trees. In my grandmother’s large yard in East Texas where I grew up were huge, old trees dripping Spanish moss and impossibly tall loblolly pines whose trunks went stories-high before the long-needled pine branches ever appeared in the distance. There was also a magnolia with its oval, glossy, dark green leaves and white, waxy blossoms the size of soup bowls. But our favorite tree was the Climbing Tree.