Closed for refurbishment until September

Finding strength in trees

Find strength in trees

Trees. Those big things that grow in our parks, gardens, farms; by our river banks and by our waterways. Big or small, these trees have their own purpose in our lives, their own ecological niche in the world.

Trees live to a very old age, if we let them and give them the right growing conditions. In the USA is a pear tree around 400 years of age. In New Zealand, we have a pear tree in Kerikeri just a shade over 200 years old. Trees have been providing food for us over the millennia. The oldest olive tree in the world is assessed at being between 3000 and 4000 years old; think of that, growing in its own space, doing what it is meant to do, for more years than most of us can imagine. Our own Tane Mahuta is around 2500 years old. Think of the many trees it has sheltered, helped along the way to their own growth. In the USA, sequoias, their giants amongt trees, grow huge, tall and strong. The eldest is thought to be over 3000 years.

At the foot of all these trees is other life; small saplings seeking their own chance to grow, little bugs and other organisms going about their business, the whole of the bounty of nature dependant on these trees. Arbiters of peace, fecund and generous, trees can show us how to live. Meditate on a tree, ask the question of its longevity, of its willingness to grow, even in apparently inhospitable circumstances. Feel the strength, feel the way the trees innately grow together in harmony – native with exotic; food producer with ornamental; givers of shelter with trees filtering sediment on our river banks. Meditate on the way that tree, a sapling more years ago than you have been alive, has made such a difference; to the natural world around its environs, to humanity, to the ecology of the world. Meditate on the young tree; it doesn’t worry about how it will achieve everything a tree must do, it doesn’t have anxiety about its performance. A tree just grows, quietly doing its job.

We all have our purpose in life, our own ecological niche to fulfil. We can live our lives in stress and worry, in panic and in hard, hard work. Or, we can take a lesson from the tree and fulfil our purpose quietly, with due reverence to all that is around us. Look after the saplings at our feet, grow together with others whose purpose and form is different from ours; know we are all the same under the outward appearances.

Garner hope from our stately brothers and sisters, the trees. They have been in the world since the beginning.