When I see trees decorating the streets and sides of the road I usually have this peculiar feeling or thought. I know that this tree I'm looking at, which I associate to an urban landscape, came from some part of the world where its kind grows wild.
And I have a strange feeling that is hard to put into words, of realizing how out of place the tree is, growing inside a designated square, surrounded by cars and pavement.
If you saw this tree in its natural habitat, you would be immersed in a certain feeling that is unique and typical of the growth place of that kind. If you stood there and absorbed that feeling, the cooler, damp air, the scent of the combined effect of the filtration of the leaves, the pace at which the tree moves to the wind, you would experience the essence of that tree fully.
But then we take that tree, and plant it in our street, and it makes the street so much nicer, but we are no longer able to sense its essence. We make it into our decor, we enjoy some aspects of it and become blind to others.
It is fine, there is no crime in that, but it is still something interesting to think about.
I guess maybe I feel a little sad for the tree who is so out of place in our urban environment, except I realize that a tree has no awareness of this kind.
But today as I was looking outside at a tree I realized something (I chose this picture from the world wide web to illustrate my thought):
Not only is the tree not aware that it should be sad, or that it is out of place; but to the tree, its own existence is not in question, but the existence of the pavement and everything around it. The tree gets what it can, and makes room for itself where it's possible. To the tree, only resources and the world exist. We think the tree is here to serve us, but, as evident in this picture, the tree thinks our environment is here to serve it. It grows, and we are the ones who are "out of place".
It doesn't care that it is not living in the forest. It is living somewhere in the world and that's enough.
I know that this is an allegory, since trees don't have such thoughts, but it is still a powerful allegory for me. When I feel out of place I can remember that somewhere in my nature is the same quality of the tree. I grow and enjoy the world, and the things that are not in synch with my nature are the ones I don't have to consider as prominent.
Like the tree, we belong to the world, even if we sometimes don't feel like it's our "natural habitat".
Saturday, August 5, 2017
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