There are three particular trees across the road from me in the park area. I have given them names of sorts. There is the Dragon tree – an old rough eucalypt, with stringy bark, and blood red sap, that defies identification. It hides a myriad spiders and beetles in the dark and dusty nooks and crannies of its base. It doesn’t look beautiful in the usual way. It’s liable to make people think of dark things in the night that bite, and they will probably warn their children away from it.
Then there is the Grandmother Tree – a lemon gum. She is huge, her bark shiny white at the right time, but currently a sort of dusky pink, as we are nearing the end of bark fall. My arms would not even go half way round her old trunk, and she stretches high and always had cockatoos,
lorikeets or rosellas nesting in one or other hole.
Lastly, there’s the Vision tree, which has eyes in its trunk. I did find out what it was called but I’ve forgotten. It doesn’t matter. Perhaps you will recognise it from the picture. I like to sit with my back to it and imagine it helps me find my way through difficulties.
I paid a visit to these trees while out walking, yesterday, and as I did so, I considered the nature of feeling connected to environment. To be perfectly honest, I actually stood with my hand on each tree and asked them to help me figure this connection thing out, and no, I’m not crazy. I’m just imaginative and creative.
The realm of connection – feeling connected to others – starts in infancy before we have language. Connection is about feelings, emotions, and sensory cues – touch, sight, sound, taste, smell and intuition. None of these things require a language of words. Instead they require art, creativity – the things our subconscious brain loves. Oh yes – words become helpful once we grow, as the acquisition of language allows us to build images or pictures with words and bridge the gap or guard the gate between our conscious and sub-conscious awareness.
I suggested, in my last post, that the very beginning of feeling connected to environment was “noticing”. Now I will suggest that the next step involves the senses – not just noticing, but seeing – taking in, pausing for a moment.
Listen actively to the birds. If you listen carefully you will begin to notice more clearly the many nuances to their chatter, and you will start to appreciate that you are hearing complex language, not just mindless twittering.
When you notice a tree, let the artistry of it sink in. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a naturally growing tree (un-hacked by humans) that isn’t artistic in the way it arranges itself.
If you have the time and inclination, you may like to try a Taoist tree meditation.
Oh – and on the subject of being aware of and connected to the environment, today is the longest day in the southern hemisphere, so I wish you all a wonderful Alban Hefin.