Recently on facebook, one person made a post, where Trees were refered to as `People’. That got me thinking, and I made a reply, and I thought it important that I posted that reply as a `status update’ in my own profile:
“Nearly all the pagans work with trees in a magical way, and I must say trees have helped me in more ways than one. And when trees I love and am connected to have been cut down or hacked by people unexpectedly, I have had serious physical injuries to my own self within days! One thing I must say , however is that I think we humanise too many things around us. Trees range from dwarves to such giant magnificent entities.. but to me, they are not people! For people are flawed humans.. and trees, they are perfect creatures of nature.”
To this, some of my friends (F1, F2, F3..) responded as follows.
F1: “It rather depends what you mean by people… But I agree about the perfection of tree beings.
F2: Perhaps referring to trees as Standing People points to an aspiration that one would hope would be a part of homo sapiens type people….. But it is interesting to reflect on the perfection of trees. The Yew, the sycamore and, no doubt other trees excrete a toxic substance that kills off anything that might attempt to grow in its shade. The Ash populates an area with such speed and in such great quantities that it is sometimes considered a weed in its denial of other species the space to develop a diverse range of flora. I can think of parallels in human society which we would criticise for such an approach. Food for thought, perhaps. 🙂 Nature, red in tooth and claw, green in leaf.
F3: I agree. We are all part of the same web and we are as perfect or as flawed as we allow ourselves to be. Of course humans are flawed but that is part of our journey. A tree that has grown in the wrong place, without enough light or food, could be said to be flawed too. We are all striving to grow and to be the best that we can be. The difference for me is one of speed…flowers are here and gone in the blink of an eye, we last a little bit longer, trees longer still and rocks the longest of all. We all have our place, our perfections and our flaws. I prefer not to reflect on the ‘perfection’ of something else by thinking about how imperfect humans are. We are young and trees are old. We are learning.
So I got thinking further, my mind provoked by these responses. And here were my replies.
“To define `flawed’ I look to our way of thinking of machines or systems. Something that does not fully and efficiently serve its purpose for coming into existence ..is flawed. A faulty machine is either repaired or scraped. A weakling bird with health problems from birth, very quickly dies – by starvation, or by being thrown out of nest – by its own siblings sometimes! It is `flawed’ because somewhere n its genetic make-up, its programming became flawed ..resulting in a `weak’ fledgling. Come to think of it, am now thinking about humans …what’s the purpose of our programming? if we are serving it, we are fine.. if not, we are flawed? Hmm.. Quite frankly, survival drives me.. not poetry. Though am likely to use esoterica and poetry and anything else to ensure my survival, if need be. Harsh I know..but its part of human-nature, right? :-)”
“I guess we should define things – I’d call humans `people’ – the creature that has evolved out of apes. Esoterically and poetically we humans `humanise’ so many non-human living things and even non-living things (what would you say is the definition of `life’ by the way?) I agree that nature is harsh, hard, and utterly selfish and every creature fights for its own survival most of the time (exceptions are when one puts its offspring’s well-being first). Trees no exception (except trees don’t put their offspring’s needs above their own. An oak doe not keel over and ie just because its seed grows near it). No other living thing is flawed, but humans.. because we humans think humans are end all and be all.. and so we try to humanise everything. 🙂 (Of course we also have to define what we mean by flawed, for this to be a fully sensible pondering.. :-)”
So readers and pagans? what thoughts do you have?
I’ll leave you with this art work that I did a very long time ago.. as it seems rather relevant 🙂