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How is it that I may be like a tree?
I can transform non-living ‘materials’ – ideas, experience, suffering – into life-giving, fruitful new things. I grow up in a spiral pattern through the turning of months and years, becoming better and better able to bear the weight of my own being. I need to reach constantly for light, anchor deeply in place to extend my branches, seek living water at all costs, and bend with the wind, just like trees.
I help shelter my family and purify the air they breathe. I grow more and more fully realized each day, and move between seasons of fruitfulness and barrenness with grace and equanimity. I’ve even learned to let go of all my works – to be fruitful even if much that I do seems wasted. It can all fall ‘to the ground’ and, perhaps, nourish later works, or the works of others.
What do trees and bones have in common?
Bare trees remind me of skeletons, because both are “articulated structures supporting life.” (SAW Pg. 52) Both are “characterized as much by that which is hard, slow-changing, unyielding, and limited as by that which is flowing, daily renewed, malleable, and less distinct in form.” (SAW Pg. 42)
Trees and bones are also both like little factories. Within trees, food for the tree is generated from light, water, air and minerals. Within bones, blood cells are formed that continually nourish, oxygenate and cleanse the whole body. There’s something about both that suggests a ‘holding place’ where elements are lifted, held together, and transformed before being moved out at a higher level of ‘value’ than they had on entering.