Sunday, 9 November 2008

Living like a tree

I have always felt a great affinity to trees. They have always seemed possessed of magical properties. We live our lives like trees. We begin as a seed, we grow, then burst forth upon the world and some of us are lucky enough not to be trampled under foot. Just how many other saplings didn’t make it at the same time as I was growing because of lack of water and nutrition, or proper care, will have run into tens of millions. It still does.

I can’t remember when I first made the connection between a winter tree without leaves and our own lungs. Turn a tree bear of leaves upside down and you get an image which could be taken as a reflection of the tree’s root system. I think I was a child, perhaps nine or ten years old, and I was going through one of those medical books which had big page diagrams of bodies, which folded open layer by layer to reveal all our internal organs. And there, in front of me was a lung! It looked like an upside down tree. The connection made in that moment between me and a tree has never left me.

If you are still with me, then thank you. You must be thinking by now ‘What’s the silly old fart on about this time?’. Well, as the sapling inside us grows it develops branches and by the time you get to 64 you have a myriad of them. In our case a branch equates to family, friends, an activity or an interest, but like the tree to keep them alive you have to feed and water them. The trouble is that you can’t feed every branch or twig, so some whither and die. They fall off. As I suspect you already realise, the analogies between us and trees could fill a book, so I will stop here.

It is suffice to say that here I am in a state of retirement and fully aware of the fact that I do not have the energy or time to feed and care for all the branches I have grown over the years, so the time has come for some drastic pruning of my own. At the moment it feels like I am contemplating self-mutilation, rather than something which will help me be healthier and more able to enjoy the future which awaits me.
With this new style blog and website I am doing what even old trees do — attempting to grow a few new branches here and there, better suited for the new environment I find myself in.

I plan to use the tree image on the first page of when I can make the time to add it. The tree is in Lenton Recreation Ground, across from our living room front window. I see it every day and have decided to take its picture every day for the next year or so and to use it as my symbol of life in Lenton. I may well improve the image, but this is my first attempt at such a thing. Look upon the tree and reflect upon what you see. It is nothing less than an image of you.

Haiti begun a period of national mourning yesterday for the victims of a school that collapsed in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The church-run school collapsed on Friday, killing at least 84 staff and children and injuring more than 150. Officials subsequently revealed that the building had suffered a partial collapse eight years ago and had been rebuilt. An inquiry has been demanded into the appalling state of the building's construction.

1 comment:

Rosie said...

Wonderful post, Robert, I've so enjoyed reading it :)