Years ago, a friend suggested I establish a relationship with a tree. I said why not? I thought of a passage in an Einstein quote, ‘free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.’
Rooted in the earth, trees foster a sense of place. They represent connections between heaven and earth, something larger than ourselves.
A tree outside my dining-room window often grabs my attention. Why this tree that’s planted in the median of a busy street?
Every morning I open my blinds and peer down at her from my second-floor window. Clare stands steady in her habitat as traffic surrounds her with kinetic energy. Full of life, my arboreal neighbor exhales the breath I breathe while she quietly nurtures nearby trees.
Other than myself, the only people that visit her on the cement island are city maintenance workers that trim her branches.
A New Zealand Xmas Tree, she often waves her wishbone limbs from across the street. At the end of the year, this sprawling evergreen with oval leathery foliage shares holiday cheer, producing masses of spikey red flowers.
I cultivate the relationship with a daily greeting and gratitude. Clare provides beauty, absorbs carbon, buffers noise, and decreases temperatures. A line by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard often comes to mind, ‘the Earth seeks to be admired by you.’
With elemental grace, she reminds me of the fundamental kinship of all life.