top of page

Trees, Trolls and Toilet Rolls

Trees Trolls and Toilet Rolls

Apparently I’m in danger of “being seen as a crank”. Hm. Well, that’s interesting. Our perceptions of each other, as well as our other than human relationships, are coloured by the lens of interpretation. Which really begs the question of how our perceptions are formed. OK, so I know some of you are reading this at work and that’s probably too big of a thing to be thinking about just now! For others it’s only just got past Monday and for some of you maybe you’re just too tired to think about it. But….

If we don’t think about it now, like right this minute, when exactly do we think about it?

Am I a crank because I think of trees as my friends? It really depends upon who you speak to doesn’t it? Even within the tree loving community we get, well, if not exactly arguments, then certainly we get animated discussions. (Ok so yes, we do get arguments sometimes but if we see them we try and get folks to remember the ‘common ground’ we’re all stood upon.) There is no doubt that trees are wonderful. They give us fresh air, they provide whole eco systems just within one tree etc, etc, and yes, you know all this.

However, trees do so much more than this. They are proven to help with our mental and physical wellbeing. More than this they provide inspiration to so many of us on how to live in hard times, perhaps by hanging on to a cliff edge or being a memorial in praise of a loved one. For some us the connection goes deeper than that. We commune with the trees and they in turn share their wisdom in a beautiful nonverbal other than human way. We leave their company feeling refreshed, inspired, humbled and the list goes on of the emotions and thoughts they gift us with.

Pareidolia springs to mind in these situations and it is often raised when people talk about their connections to trees. There are those who say anthropomorphism is a bad thing but is it, if it helps people connect to nature? Clearly there is a balance to be had. Of course, trees don’t have eyes, ears and mouths like humans do. But that doesn’t mean they cannot communicate with each other, or indeed, us. We as humans can gain so much from the company of trees by being willing to just witness them silently for a start. To stand and witness as though we were seeing a tree for the very first time. What would that feel like? If you had never ever seen a tree before, not even in a picture book …what would that feel like?

Our lens of perception is coloured by the society we live in. What passes for ‘modern civilisation’ has a hierarchy, and at the top of the heap are us humans. Everything is at our disposal …and what a sentence that is! I think that if we were all willing set our own judgements about relationships to one side we would discover a whole new world. Except that it isn’t a ‘new world’ at all. It is the world and it is waiting for us to wake up and see it.

Meanwhile, we all wipe our backsides on toilet rolls …made out of trees. Life is indeed sacred and profane at the same time. It would be a step in the right direction to face up and acknowledge this. At bottom, this creation we live in is a cosmic dance of life and death. In order for each of us to live, other beings must die. I’m not talking just about meat eaters here. I’m talking about all of us. What I’m about to suggest maybe seen as controversial.

Is a plant, a tree any less than an animal? Is an animal any less than a human? For this read ‘worth’ less? I would like to suggest we all take a minute to think about this.

The current situation we have is that we are living on a planet undergoing great environmental transformation brought about by the activities of humans. The trouble is those activities are governed by and large, by how we perceive the world. In the main most humans regard plants and animals as ‘less than’ and therefore worth less than humans, meaning they are expendable. So long as we continue with this mindset we are going to continue to weigh everything in terms of human invented standards such as ‘economic worth’, and look where that has got us.

It is this mindset that here in the UK has garnered one of the most controversial construction projects in recent times. The white elephant that is HS2, which even the current government is recognising as no longer economically viable. Yet it continues to plough inexorably through over a hundred ancient woodlands killing thousands of plants and animals. Have you seen baby badgers running terrified for their lives screaming down the road? Go visit HS2 ground zero and see for yourself.

I don’t claim to have any answers to the complex situation we find ourselves in, but I do know it is time to re-evaluate our values. Perhaps we can start by befriending a tree.

Here is a simple exercise. Take a walk, let your mind quieten. Without looking directly at them, go find a tree. Stand in front of it and close your eyes. Let your thoughts fall away (if you can). Keep your eyes closed for as long as feels comfortable imagining that when you open them you are going to see a ‘new’ world’ a ‘strange place’ full of strange beings that your have never seen before. Once you have this firmly in mind open your eyes. At this stage you need do nothing whatsoever. Just stand and witness. Let your sense relax and open up. Just observe what, or who, is in front of you.

Be witness to the world.


Amanda Claire

댓글 1개

Amanda if you are a crank,then so am I.Like a tree displays its age and wisdom,then let us wear our crank badgers with Pride and Honour.

bottom of page