How can we tell if a tree is healthy? It stands tall and strong through the seasons, withstanding the downpours of rain, and the frost and blankets of snow that decorate its branches. In the autumn it sheds its leaves in a flurry of red, yellow and brown. It’s roots reach deep and wide, anchoring it to the ground to enable it to withstand storms while providing essential nutrients for growth and renewal. A tree offers shelter and refuge for animals and birds. It provides us with oxygen.
I’d like to use the image of the tree to think about how we ourselves stand strong throughout our lives. If we imagine ourselves as the tree, then our own roots will keep us strong and healthy.
The roots of place – the safe place we create for ourselves in the world which keeps us anchored in difficult times.
The roots of nourishment – what we put into our mouths will be evident in our bodies and their ability to function to the maximum.
The roots of relationships – which are the relationships in your life that are steadfast, providing support and lifting your spirits?
The roots of creativity – what do you create in your life? Do you bake? Write? Draw? Make things? Dance?
The roots of spirituality – this isn’t necessarily religion. Do you feel at one with nature? Do you feel connection with a certain place?
The roots of solidarity – what do you do for others? Helping others can create a deep sense of well-being in ourselves.
What nourishes you? What inspires you?
Finally, here’s a poem about a tree to share with your child, from my upcoming book of poetry for children. You can get them to stand tall like a tree and invent some accompanying actions.
There’s a tree at the end of my garden.
It stands tall, majestic,
Branches out wide, reaching up to the sky.
Trunk strong, roots deep.
It stands through the seasons.
Spring – the new leaves form and spread to provide shade in the summer.
Autumn – In the autumn the leaves fall in a shower of red, yellow, orange and brown.
In winter the snow dresses its bare branches.
It sways with the gentle breeze and bends with the storm. But never breaks.
Quiet, companion, showing me that no matter what happens,
As the seasons continue to follow their cycle.