This week I met an old sweet chestnut with quite a presence about it in a churchyard. On a cold, dull, grey February day it struck me immediately. The #forestbathing audio #meditation with blog commentary is here.
This twisting turning #tree seemed to beckon me over. As I walked towards it I was struck by its’ shape and the way it seemed to journey upwards, not directly, but curving and bending, building up layers of bark and branches. The church was built in 1856 so I assume this #sacredtree is at least as old as the building. There were some other trees in the grounds but this one seemed to say “come over here and walk around and say hello”.
A tree grown more characterful with age, with woodpecker holes in its branches and wildflowers at its feet. #Chestnuts have a natural spiralling habit so that their bark pattern twists up and around the trunk. When left to grow ancient their trunks thicken to an immense girth at their base.
‘The twisted tree lives out its’ life, the straight tree ends up as a board.’ Chinese Proverb.
What happens to trees that they should grow so crooked? Perhaps there was a drought one year, maybe an insect caused an infection, perhaps a storm came and broke some of its limbs. There are endless reasons a tree may not grow the way of most of its kind. Is it therefore, any the less for being different? Do we mock trees for not growing straight?
"In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, "Look at me...I'm tall, and I'm straight, and I'm handsome. Look at you...you're all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you." And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, "Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest." So, the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.”
How many of us grow crooked, blasted by storms and other onslaughts yet here we still stand?
The other question is what does it cost to grow 'straight'? To conform to others expectations? To societies expectations? Then we see that to confirm costs the very soul of a tree, enough to cause its' death from a living being into something lifeless to be used an an object. This tree story warns of not doing what is expected and not giving into outside pressures brought to bear by others but to continue to grow in our own way. Of course life will bring unexpected weather, be it a drought or a flood and yes these things will shape us. But we are shaped through the truth of life's #naturaljourney rather than living a lie only to become a mass produced object.
It is very important, as you can see, to know the difference. This is what it means to rewild your native rooted soul.
Around this tree were its’ summer leaves shed in the autumn, along with piles of spiky sweet chestnut shells, all glistening in the rain. Out of the grass and the discarded leaves were growing snowdrops, primroses and celandines all sheltered by this tree. A being where time circled around in a spiralling journey.
This tree was holding a court to beauty, a small world centred around its own being.
I hope you have enjoyed this weeks #treeteaching and #forestbathing #meditation. If you have click on the little heart below. #AncientandSacredTrees is all about promoting good #mentalhealth and #wellbeing through #natureconnection for a better #world.
Amanda Claire x
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