CONNECTIONS #BloggersBash Bestest Blog Post Competition The Tree and Me

The Sacred Tree – na Bílí – is where I made my home, called by a voice unknown, challenged but in the end found worthy. The heart knows when it is home. I pay my respects from a distance, content to wait.

And trees have time to kill.

My life has been filled with trees, from the day as a teen when I missed my train to work because I was so busy writing a poem (Winter Trees) about the trees which bordered the platform, to the day only a few months ago, when I planted the first trees in my garden.

I love them. I admire them. I respect them. I cry when I see one cut down. I feel pain when I see the naked wound of pale, fresh wood.

Trees are tactile. They invite touch. Against my skin, the trunk is cold, hard, unyielding. The tree is not like me: I am soft, warm, weak flesh. Silent and strong he stands, old long before I was thrust into existence; he will remain long after I am gone.

The tree is not like me. He reaches for the stars, blossoms for the sun, always standing tall and proud, bowing to none, resisting. When the storm rages, he dances and sings, but he is resolute.

I am not like the tree. I drift where life’s breeze blows me. I shy from sun and storm. I am human, enslaved to my weak, warm flesh.

The broad path leads me through the forest, and I am dazzled by the myriad shades of green, by the capricious filter of sunbeams, by the golden fall of last years leaves, shed like autumn tears. Above me, branches interlace, shaping the vault of nature’s cathedral. Protecting. Embracing. Forming me into the precious relic contained within their shrine. I breathe, and the burden of life’s woes is lifted.

Beneath my feet, deep in the dark, damp earth, roots search out kin, binding, weaving together, supporting one another, connecting. They are all different – the oak, the scots pine, the rowan, the willow. And yet, they are all the same.

Just like us.

I was inspired to write this by the #BloggersBash Blog Post Competition, which this year is all about ‘Connections‘.

Submit your entry here.


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#1000speak | What Connection Means to Me

webWe are so fortunate to live in this digital age; it allows anyone and everyone to be a writer, either through publishing a book, or posting on a blog. We all have a voice. Thus we can be heard all around the world, not just the tiny patch of it which we physically inhabit, and make connections with like-minded people we could never otherwise hope to have met. We are all connected.

Perhaps even more important is our growing awareness of our interconnectedness; the ability to see a universal ‘oneness’ in all things, that no matter who or where we are, or how different we appear to be on the outside, we are all part of one whole.

Science has taken this idea a huge step further; archaeo-anthropology and archaeo-genetics can now trace our genetic pathway back through thousands of years to the origins of mankind, so determining our common ancestors. It seems we are more interconnected than some of us might like to admit.

Take, for example, the recent exhumation of the body of King Richard III from beneath a car park in Leicester; he died on August 22nd 1485, yet using samples of DNA obtained from his remains 530 years later, it was possible to trace his descendants around the globe who are alive today. Imagine discovering that connection!

All these strands which connect us in the modern world seem as fragile and intricate as spiders webs. They are invisible, blurred by distance, connections we can neither see, nor feel. They are easy to overlook, ignore, deny. Herein lies the disconnect.

Our connections on the web, social media, local radio, tv and so on informed us of the devastation of the two recent earthquakes in Nepal which left over 8500 people dead, and we were shocked. But we are immune, because we are so far removed from such horror. In our part of the world, these disasters rarely happen.

Watching or listening to such events unfold in distant lands to people we don’t know arouses only vague senses of sorrow and empathy. A quick donation later, and we’ve moved on to discussing the weather, or preparing the dinner, and tomorrow there will be new news.

But the disconnect is insidious and sly. It creeps stealthily into our everyday lives, and our immediate community. I know, because I see it and I feel it. I always have.

Every day I battle with my twin demons; connection and disconnection. I disconnect so I can write; so I can avoid large social gatherings, where I mill about on the fringes feeling more disconnected than ever; so I can avoid feeling different, or inadequate, in fact so I can disconnect from my feelings of disconnectedness, which society makes me feel so aware of.

While I’m doing that, I’m connecting via my blog and social media with people who judge me only on my content, on what I have to say, on my voice, on my interaction. No one here finds me lacking. If they do, they just disconnect, unfollow, never comment again. It’s a wonderful freedom. No wonder more and more people are joining the blogosphere.

The most precious connection of all, though, is that I share with my children. It’s a multi-faceted jewel which is constantly growing and evolving. It’s more than words, mere communication; its nurturing, displays of love and affection, sharing, taking an interest in each other, making time for each other, and so much more. I am reminded of this daily, when I lift my non-verbal child from her bed every morning. Lack of communication does not make for lack of connection; her squeals of joy when I walk in the room, and the intensity of her hugs are proof enough of that.