What can trees teach us about taking up space?

By Kim K Gray

I love trees. As a young girl I remember often being up in their branches. If I wasn't on top of my monkey bars, I was likely up on the branch of a tree. I can't recall what I did up there, but it probably involved a lot of thinking.

As a teenager I remember loving the trails through the woods we would run on for track and cross country practice. I was never the fastest runner, so during cross country meets I'd often find myself alone running through the forest. I loved those moments. I hated the races that were just laps around a big field šŸ˜›

I still love being among trees. I could never live in a place that didn't have forests nearby. The moment I first stepped off a plane in Seattle I began to fall in love with the towering evergreens. The trees feel so powerful in the PNW. Reaching up into the sky.

Even the trees in my yard are so tall we have to hire people in climbing gear and crampons to scale up these trees and clean them up in order to reduce the chance of big branches or entire trees falling on our house. Powerful, these trees.

Trees show up with significance in so many traditions. The tree in the center of the garden of Eden from which Eve picked the apple from The Bible. Yggdrasil, the world tree, in the Nordic tradition. The Bohdi tree under which the Buddha sat and attained enlightenment. The Tree of Immortality in the Quran. And so on.

The roots of the tree remind me to stay rooted. That if I reach my roots deep down into the earth, I will not so easily be pushed over by the wind.

The trunk reminds me to be firm yet pliable. And to stand tall. Fully myself, no apologies.

The branches remind me to reach out. To dance in the breeze. To reach out to others and to follow my curiosity.

And the leaves remind me to breathe in life.  And to soak up the sun. And sometimes, to let things fall.

Of all the glorious creations in nature, I identify most with the trees.

I snapped these images of this tree as I walked with my dog one day. I love how it stands among tall reaching evergreens and reaches its branches out.  Reaches around the evergreens. Taking up space. Even while surrounded.

I wonder, how can we take up space even when we are surrounded by towering strength? How can we reach ourselves out and around to breathe and follow our curiosity?

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