Lately I have been thinking a lot about trees.
Many of the designs I have been working on are based around leaves and trees and as I’ve been out walking and collecting what leaves I can find at this time of year, I’ve been looking intently at the skeletal trees silhouetted against the sky and thinking that they will soon be bursting back into life again.
Trees are powerful symbols; look back at mythologies from around the world and you can find trees everywhere. They are strong, powerful, markers of time and the turning of seasons. They embody the power of nature in its creative and ever changing glory.
I’ve been working on pieces around the theme of the tree of life, most familiar to me from the pages of the bible and the story of creation, but also appearing in many stories from outside of the Christian tradition. Someone then mentioned that one of my designs made them think of the Tree of Gondor from The Lord of the Rings and this set my mind off in a whole new direction.
Trees are immensely important in the works of Tolkien and are used to embody nature and the problems of mankind’s misuse of natural resources. Tolkien uses the destruction of trees to show evil and greed and the replanting of trees as a sign of restoration and healing. I could go on for hours, but the main conclusion from my musings is that we have an obligation to protect nature and that we abuse it and its natural resources at our peril. Whether it is even possible to protect the natural world alongside mankind’s insatiable march of progress, I do not know and only time will tell.
Next time you see an impressive tree, take the time to really look at it – remember its longevity – it was probably there long before you ever arrived and hopefully will still be there a long time after you leave.