Directly in front of our patio is an interesting tree, one of which I don’t know the name but which I realize is a representation of my life. I do realize, however, that every tree is a ‘Tree of Life’ and is depicted as such by many writers and artists. As I sit here and examine ‘my’ tree I can create a scenario which parallels my life.
Of course, it begins with that which can’t be seen, the roots, which are similar to mine in purpose and as with all of us, reaches out like tentacles in many directions. As the roots extend seeking nutrients for its growth, my roots provide a basis for who and where I am in life.
The type of ‘my tree’ calls for it to lose its bark, leaving a much smoother surface exposed to the elements. While, fortunately, I don’t lose my skin, it does change as I age by allowing certain deficiencies to surface, which on some persons, become harmful. Interestingly. some folks work hard to preserve the texture or even change the color of theirs, however temporary that lasts.
There are two major trunks on my tree and on one of them is another large growth, equal in size to its host. On one major trunk is the sign of where a large limb had probably been cut off and allowed to heal nicely. This reminds me of good experiences that have occurred in my life and remain as a wonderful memory or of a sad occurrence that has healed in my psyche.
On the other trunk is the rugged appearance of two closely situated and obviously damaged limb remains that still exist, facing upward, as if in agony, where it absorbs rainwater, which, in turn, slowly destroys the trunk’s fiber and strength. This reminds me of bad memories that stay with me, eating away at my mental health, fed by regret and ingratitude. The rainwater in the trunk and the lack of self-forgiveness in my life, each in their own reservoirs, can destroy its host.
Moving up the tree I see a myriad of branches, some with budding leaves and others listing dead in the breeze. These represent the many facets of my on-going life, opportunities to come, events and occurrences, good and bad, from the past. The dead branches are my experiences that have passed from my active memory and the buds suggest the things yet to appear in my future. I say ‘active memory’ because I know I never really lose the events of my past. Everything I have ever done, seen, heard, or said never goes away.
As I watch the buds flourish, I want to relate them to the active life I still have; to give my time and talents to volunteer efforts I want to do. As the leaves add beauty to the beholder, I want to be a person that others enjoy being in my presence, or at least be tolerated.
If you have a tree in your yard, what do you see in it, besides leaves on branches?
And so it is and should be.