What Can Trees Teach Us?
The Wonder of Trees
Trees are fabulous, and brighten up the busiest of cities or make the countryside more beautiful. We have all, at one time or another, stopped to marvel at the beauty of a tree. Have you ever considered how they are responsible for providing us with the air that we breathe? They take in the carbon dioxide that we breathe out, and convert it into the oxygen we require for survival.
However, the importance of the magnificent tree does not end there. They are responsible for storing water in times of floods as well as removing toxins and poisons from the ground, water and air. The tree provides a home to many animals, insects, and birds of all sizes. As they make their habitats in the trees, they contribute to the natural cycles of life. Similarly, trees are used for building homes, making furniture and constructing places where we work and play. Trees are used for shade, for construction materials, and to provide a place of tranquil beauty all over the world.
Each part of the tree's life is important. As they grow and shed their leaves each year the soil beneath the tree gets nourished. Eventually, when the tree dies, and falls over, it will be fully recycled and provide food, shelter and safety for a variety of animals, insects and plants.
Trees are essential in protecting the topsoil on which most plant life lives. The roots act as an anchor for the soil, and prevent wind and water erosion. In countries such as England much of the natural forests have been cut down and the result is an impoverished landscape and changed weather patterns and less protection for the animal species that live in the forests. In other parts of the world desertification has occurred because trees have been systematically destroyed on huge scales. The trees no longer attract the rain, and there is little for the top soil to cling onto and the soil simply dries up and blows away, leaving nothing but a barren desert.
When you consider how trees are, you find a good prototype for how a person should strive to live. A tree does not require constant praise or recognition and does very well without worrying about what the other trees are doing or complaining about its lot. They are part of a forest, connected by the earth in which they have their roots, and yet they are also independent and self-sufficient. They live in harmony with the trees around them, and they all flourish and grow at their own pace and in their own manner. They are confident and comfortable in their role as a tree, not striving to be another type of tree, animal or bird- they are content with their place in the bigger picture.
Trees do not suffer from insecurity. They are aware of how they play a very important role in the big scheme of it, and they do so with magnificent beauty and quiet grace. The very fact that that tree is able to perform the task they are assigned is pleasure enough for the tree. They strive to be the best tree they can. They enjoy the privilege and are confident in their knowledge that they are good enough. This is in direct contrast to a human that constantly questions his/her worth, if he or she is good enough, or worthy, ad infinitum.
Just being is enough for the tree. There is no self-pity, no constant approval seeking and all services are provided free of charge and humbly. The tree is content in its completeness, and also works in harmony with the rest of the forest to provide shelter, nourishment and safety to all other animals, humans and plants.
Do the trees have feelings? Is it possible that a tree feels sadness when a fellow tree is felled, or that a tree may feel pride or happiness when a seedling is planted? Do you think that a tree is able to sense our thanks and love on a summer or autumn day? Is it possible that trees understand the damage we are causing our environment, and the gradual reduction in their numbers worldwide?
The tree reflects the model of harmony, peace, tranquility, and balance found within nature. Mother Nature is a wonderful provider of healing, peace and beauty, but we have to learn how to access her strength. Spending time outdoors appreciating the natural world is an important step in the right direction. Taking care of our immediate local environment as well as actively caring for the world at large is another. Taking the time to notice the perfection in the world outside of man- made creations is critical to developing a meaningful connection with the natural world.
Respecting, cherishing, and caring for all types of trees forms a necessary part of our duty to this planet. Look at the products you buy and choose wisely. Buy products that are sustainable and come from countries and companies that do no harm to the environment. Palm oil is the reason that the Orangutans are becoming homeless, corned beef and soya are the majority of the reason the Rain forest in Brazil is being chopped down- learn about what you are eating and the impact it has on our home. Take the time to invest in the future by planting a tree. Do some volunteering and help to repopulate forests where you can. Where you can’t, appreciate a tree. They are magnificent and we are lucky to have them. Take care of them for the next generation.
Written by Caroline Nettle.
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