The other day, I learned the neatest thing. My sister-in-law told me that she gave her brother an olive tree in Italy as a gift. At various times of the year, he receives olive oil from his tree. I never thought about actually owning a tree.
Now for a bit of trivia . . . The oldest tree in the world was recently announced by the Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research Group, a 5,062-year-old Bristlecone Pine which is in the White Mountains of California.
People who know me know that I am obsessed with trees. I love them. I write about them. I draw them. I memorialize them in tile. I plant them and I grow them. In return, trees give me great comfort. My childhood memories of sitting under the protection of a tree have sustained me for years.
The Lebanese poet, Kahlil Gibran wrote these words:
Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
The Scripture tells the story of Deborah, the prophetess, and how she sat under a palm tree between Rama and Bethel in mount Ephraim. The children of Israel came to her there for her wise settlement of all their disputes. The tree was known as the palm tree of Deborah. (From Judges 4)
When all forms of comfort fail for me, I turn in some way to a tree. Sometimes I just browse the Internet for pictures of trees. Sometimes I sit quietly beside the tree that shelters my front porch. Often, I simply start drawing leaves. And eventually, I feel whole and very grounded.
Perhaps that’s what a tree reminds me of . . . not only the beauty of the foliage on the outside, but what happens on the inside. Deep roots push down into the ground giving the tree the strength to withstand the winds. It’s just what I need for myself, groundedness and deep roots to sustain me.
I am grateful for trees.