Trees are fabulous! They are the lungs of the planet. They do an amazing job for us- they take our waste product (carbon dioxide) and they turn it into what we breathe- oxygen.
They are very adept at removing toxins from the environment and they can store phenomenal quantities of water in times of great rains to avoid flooding. They provide entertainment, a place to nest, and hide, wood for household furnishings, fire, and construction. They provide beauty, and shade, and they attract rain. Even when they fall, they provide shelter and homes for smaller insects and animals and then they biodegrade into nutrients in the soil and the cycle begins again.
Nothing that they do is a waste. When it is time to let go of what they no longer need, they do it with grace. How often do we hang onto what we no longer need? The leaves fall when the light changes and rids the tree of all her toxins for that year, and the leaves in turn nourish the forest floor and provide nutrients for young trees, shelter for insects and animals and each last cast off leaf gets recycled.
Due to the fact that they have so many uses, we have been decimating the forests on our planet as we cut down precious trees. My own country England at one stage was completely covered by trees, as was most of Europe, but over time we have reduced the coverage of trees to a bare minimum.
Where we have lacked foresight is that trees anchor the top layers of soil, and attract rain to the locality. The overwhelming evidence is that where there is enormous desertification on this planet is where the trees have been removed, so the rain has ceased to come and the top layers of soil have been blown away by the winds, leaving a desert behind.
Trees can mirror back to us the issues that we are not dealing with. Looking at trees, I see that they do not need an audience- they are really able to just be a tree, to the best of their ability, regardless of what is going on around them.
They do not feel responsible for other trees, they connect and communicate with the neighbouring trees, whilst remaining very alone and self-sufficient. They are harmonious with their fellow trees, and at the same time confidently assured of their purpose and individuality.
The tree is very efficient at being a tree. She does not waste time thinking about what it would be like to be a racoon- that is not her job. She is proud to be a tree and does it to the best of her ability.
She does not waste time on insecurity- she is a very good tree and does her job well. She can see that she provides a lot of different elements of God’s universe with the tools to be who or what they are supposed to be, and this gives her pleasure. She knows that the services she provides are life-giving and thus she knows she does a good job. How much time do we waste wondering if we are good enough?
The tree does not have time for self-pity. She is too busy being endlessly generous, and splendid in her knowledge of the part that she is playing. She needs no approval, gratitude, or repayment, she just is.
Many of our perceived issues created by our “superior” minds are not afflictions that seem to bother the natural world. I am referring to our emotions. Or maybe a tree can feel grief each time one of her sisters is cut down on the other side of the planet? Perhaps the destruction that occurs in the name of progress does weaken the immune system of our planetary lungs? Similarly, do they feel joy each time a child plants a sapling, or a forest is admired and loved, or a conservation project restores a woodland?
Mother Nature has so much to offer us in the form of healing, calm, peace, tranquillity and beauty. In a world that is so removed from our home, and all that she does for us, is it time that we find refuge from the stress in the beautiful outdoors and contemplate how we can be the best person that we are supposed to be? Is it time to assess how we can best assist the trees and the planet to further help us to live in peace and harmony with ourselves and others? Is it time to just marvel at how abundant nature is and how giving she is and how lucky we are to be alive at this very special time?
What can you do today that will save the worlds trees? Buy less products made with palm oil? Really read where your products are coming from- corned beef from Brazil and neighbouring countries could well have been farmed on land which was rainforest not so long ago. Be aware of the origin of your furniture, and don’t buy it if it is from endangered stocks? Learn about trees. Plant a tree if you can. Appreciate a tree if you can’t.
Written by Caroline Nettle in 2000.