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Banbury Cross

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Post details: The Meaning of Trees

The Meaning of Trees

My Mom and Dad just had a golden wedding. That meant both good news and bad news for me. On the one hand, the event clearly portended that I would be pushing the big five o in uncomfortably foreseeable future, on the other hand my parents chose to hold the festivities in the house where my Mom grew up, which happens to be located in one of my favorite places on Earth - a little mining village in northeast Bohemia called Radvanice. When we were kids, me and my sister spent every summer holiday there, roaming the deep woods from dawn till dusk, playing soccer on a grassy hill, looking for interesting minerals on a slag heap and naming local creeks after major North American rivers.

So it happened that last week I found myself lying supine on a lawn under a huge maple tree in front of my Grandpa's summer house, not far from a place where my favorite dog Dalan used to have its doghouse. As my eyes were slowly scanning the sinuous boughs of an old tree, I couldn't help recognizing some of their curves. Those were exactly the same branches I stared at when I was pondering the mysteries of the universe with my 8 year old mind. As I kept gazing at the leafy maze, parts of my memory were stimulated the same way a pad lock gets stimulated when a fitting key blade engages the wards in the keyway. Those crooks and forks and gnarls were still stored in my memory like a set of reference points.

Trees provide us with a sense of continuity and coherence in a world driven by hectic and random change. Much like ourselves, trees are living organism, but they function on a very different time scale. From our vantage point, they are like little buoys on the majestic river of time. And make no mistake, time is not a lake, it is indeed a river. Sometimes slower, sometimes faster, but river nonetheless.

Not far from that maple tree there stood a row of birches which we planted with my grandma when I was about ten. They were barely my size then. Now they were large almost adult trees, easily 30 feet high. The sight of those stately trees made me realize my age more acutely than my own birthdays. It was a gentle reminder that time does flow and that we should make the best of it while it does.

javor

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