Trees. The subject has been nagging me for a while. It came up the other day in my blog with Joyce Kilmer’s poem. Before that I stumbled (on U tube) a piece about an obscure religion that teaches the degrees of intelligence on earth. Its theory is that among all of creation the most highly intelligent are trees. Next are dogs and third, mankind.
Of course, I couldn’t agree. My religion places man at the top, the last of all to be created, and man that is given dominion over all the earth, and “every creeping thing that creepeth upon the face of the earth.” Of course, this satisfies the human ego, but it shouldn’t. Not, that is, until the ego has learned something of what trees and dogs know.
We’ve all been blessed by trees. How? Well, they take up little space at their base and their tops shade us. They mind their own business but if anyone decides to trim them or even cut them down they submit without a word. They don’t resist the inevitable and often their bodies go to make fine furniture or build houses or end up in particle board or get burned in furnaces. If they cry out in sorrow or pain no one hears. They don’t retaliate in anger. That would only demean themselves. Perhaps they know that angels will lead them to a better life and their loss turns out to be gain.
You may ask, Is that good? Should we be so submissive to our enemies? Ask yourself, Where have wars gotten us? Where has it helped to kill others in retaliation to man’s inhumanity? Is it intelligent to fight back, or should we leave judgment to God?
Pacifism has been discredited. That’s because we don’t know the power of goodness and love that knows no fear. A tree does. It lives each day to grow. What it learns in its growth is given out in beauty, stillness, peace, meekness, and survival. In storms it holds up bravely but if the storm is stronger, then so be it.
If a tree lives by certain principles it might include the following:
- Be what you are and be the best you can under all circumstances.
- Don’t concern yourself with what you can’t do, like walking, talking, understanding everything. Do what you can.
- Keep growing under all circumstances.
- Put on a thick skin (bark) to protect yourself but if it’s not in your genes to do this, be strong and pure in your innocent smooth trunk.
- Look kindly on the world around and don’t judge people for their foolishness.
- Since you can’t dance with feet, dance with the music of birds in your branches.
- Be still and listen. You really surpass humans in this wisdom!
- Be kind, hurt no one if you can help it.
- Live to enjoy yourself and give pleasure to other creatures.
- Love who you are, where you are, however much or little you have, and when you speak, speak softly like the wind in your branches.
That’s enough of a lesson for me and I can’t deny the superiority of trees in many respects, can you? The first runner up in intelligence is, according to this religion, dogs. I’m not going to tackle that because I’m sure my readers know as much and more about the intelligence of dogs as I do.
When I compare mankind to trees and dogs, I have to admit that we’re not so smart, especially when you consider how much we’ve been given. We’re beginning to learn from nature. The American Indians could teach us about that. Mankind has learned something about decency, love, courtesy, honesty, etc. but we have yet to conquer the base and inhumane elements that a tree knows nothing of and a dog has overcome through love.
Time to get busy now and sift the chaff from the wheat of our earthly sojourn. And before we casually condemn or deny another’s religion we might give it a closer look. I probably won’t pursue this one further, but I certainly learned something from trees.