There’s a lot to admire about a tree. Lots to look up to, walking around a forest. Trees know how to honor those that have fallen. They know what hope is. They know what jubilation is in a spring day.
A healthy forest is full of old wood slowly rotting on the ground. A thriving forest soil is full of fungi that the previous generation contributed to its account when it stopped putting on wood and started to decay. Forests don’t forget their dead. No, forests take the best that their brethren have brought to this world and incorporate it into their own beauty. They set their roots and derive their sustenance from the richness their ancestors contributed to the earth.
Trees know how to take advantage of a sunny day. They open themselves up to the world, reach for the sun, and take joy in the simple pleasures, rain, another dawn, deep roots. Putting on another ring, building a stout trunk, setting seed, these are milestones on the path towards majesty. Few sights in this world inspire as much awe as a broad centenarian burr oak in the early morning light, the product of decades of slow, plodding progress.
We humans would do well to strive for hundred year goals. Stewarding beauty to be enjoyed by great great grandchildren you may never meet. Surely there are few nobler pursuits. Thinking on generational timescales; understanding that hope means doing something every day that reflects your deeply held values, that feels like making a difference, however small. And incorporating our loved ones who have passed into the very fibers of our being; building the future with the legacy and lessons they taught us. We’ve got a lot to learn from trees.