Monday, May 08, 2006

Climbing the Tree

I am not a very good climber. I have no head for heights, and can fall off a chair as my mother used to say. But here I am at the foot of the enchanted tree with all manner of strange beings above me and somehow, from somewhere, I must find the courage to start my ascent.

I have brought a small bag with me, containing photographs of my loved ones, my magic laptop which works on solar power, a jar of drinking chocolate for comfort, my digital camera to record my experiences and a mirror with which to examine myself daily. I don;t understand why I thought to bring a mirror. Perhaps I think that I am going to undergo a change and I want to be able to see in my face and in my eyes how this change manifests itself? I just know that for some reason I need a mirror. I am not a beautiful woman. I am not at all interested in beauty products and I hardly ever wear make-up. The significance of the mirror will have to reveal itself in due course.

I stand at the foot of the tree. It looks like a giant old chestnut tree, branches spreading wide around it. The sunlight pours, dappled, through the leaves. I remember the story of Jack and the Beanstalk from my childhood, and how Jack found a giant living in the land at the top. I wonder who I will find living there.

I place my bag over my shoulder, and, with a prayer to the god of short-plump-climbing-women I start to climb, very slowly and carefully ........

A little humour.......tree roots in the sky

Not long ago I went to a talk given by a recent immigrant to the UK, a wonderful vibrant woman from Malaya who spoke to us about the batik work she and her husband produced, and also about how she was taught to work in this way in her native country.

Her experiences of coming to live in England were told with the most delightful sense of fun. She recalled stepping out of the doors of the airport and freezing almost solid - she had come from a country on the equator to the refrigeration of England in winter. She immediately looked around to see where the aircondtioners were, thinking that the British must be very adept because they could make even the outside cool.....Her first experience of snow came whilst she was standing in a post office. Totally amazed she ran outside to try to gather what she thought was rice falling from the sky!

But the image that stayed in my mind was of tree roots in the sky. She had never seen trees in winter, had no concept of a deciduos tree. She just assumed that the bare branches of the tree were its roots and that the trees in the UK grew downwards into the soil!! You can imagine the laughter errupting during this talk which was given to the branch of the Embroiderers Guild to which I belong.

So maybe instead of feeling that we are reaching down into some primeval source for our deep roots we could turn the tree upside down and feel that our roots reach into the sky and it is our growth that anchors us firmly in the world? I only know that with every passing year I feel more keenly connected to the earth herself. My concern for her welfare and my fears for her future wellbeing grow daily.

As for my roots. Well, there's a question. I will address that in a different post.