Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Memory of Trees

What must it be
to stand forever still,

swayed only

by long-drawn winds

that creaked in your arms

as your leaves turned up their
silvergreen bellies

to the walking world?

(c) Kathryn W. Ritter
July 10, 2011


When I was a girl I spent a good deal of time in the woods behind our house, with a handmade collection bag for things like muskadines and wild ginger and rocks, my walking stick, and a book.
I remember many afternoons in my reading-places in the woods, sitting absolutely still just to listen to what was going on in the woods around me--to notice everything and try to find a meaning in some of it.  I had a vague meditative fantasy that if I stayed there long enough, perhaps I would grow "tree-ish".  Maybe in a way I did, because trees still have a powerful hold on my imagination, creativity and even emotional well-being.  I have always loved trees most of all, among all plants and things that grow. In one of my favorite books, The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, there is such deep and meaningful tree-lore. I think, just as Tolkien saw himself as an elf for his whole life, I might have begun to imagine myself as a dryad when I was a little girl--and maybe it stuck. That was partly why our move away from Southern tall trees to Texas was so difficult for me. I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable for the first few months.
In many ways I think trees speak to all of us.  We perceive them as strong, long-lived, and wise--symbols of hope and courage.  Deciduous trees are reborn every spring and remind us that everything, even death, is really about life.  They give us hope; they live and give in sweet and solemn beauty.  And ultimately, at the core of all tree-lore and symbolism, One tree--the tree of the Cross--brought forth the hope of another, even more majestic; the Tree of Life.

Have a beautiful Sunday, friends.

1 comment:

  1. Oh how I wish for a forest like the one of your childhood. If not for me, then for my children. I want them to have that kind of refuge and kingdom.

    Beautiful, cousin. It's all beautiful.