I’m getting older. No doubt about it. Ageing and wisdom are by no means synonymous. Why? In our material world, got to love that we even write songs about that theme, we crave youth and perfection. We want symmetry. We crave the golden ratio! Does it define beauty?
My daughter and I went bush walking. Destination: Springbrook National Park. On a slow and roughly structured day, we set out to achieve one thing, finding the Antarctic Beech trees. If you want to look them up, here is the link:
We took the indirect route, travelling through the Nunimbah Valley, to Natural Bridge, snapping photos madly whilst chatting. It was perfect. Our excitement mounted as we found the sign and followed the path a short distance to the trees. They stood still and majestic behind a simple post and rail fence. Tourists rushed past them, some turning back when they noticed us. The satisfying click of an expensive camera, a rushed capture cut through the silence momentarily and they moved on.
We stayed, playing with the ‘PANO,’ setting on our phones, the challenge, to capture the enormity of the trees without warping the image.
Nature provides us with abundant metaphors for living. Maybe the tranquillity of the forest unlocked my receptivity. I marvelled, not for the first time, what it would be like to stand still in the same place for over two thousand years! Most of us can’t sit still for more than a few minutes.
Then I looked more closely. The trees showed signs of their age. They bore their injuries proudly. One had been hollowed yet grew past a major insult aeons before. Looking up its canopy was indistinguishable from its brother and sister. I thought of my restless search for perfection and bad association with anorexia in the 70’s. I reflected on the numerous people who fight the demons of anxiety and depression.
I looked at the tree’s canopy high up, way past where I was now and understood profoundly that it’s okay.
It’s okay to:
- be imperfect
- have fears
- to look in all the wrong places
- to feel lost and directionless
Imperfections are fertiliser for growth. Like the trees we have to sit with it, look at what we are scared of and move forward past self-destructive choices. Growth stretches us, requiring courage and persistence. Nature is medicinal!
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