The tree of life

There are many maxims relating to trees that are worth reflecting on:

What is well rooted survives.
As the twig bends so the tree will grow.
Severed branches grow again.
The whole tree is hidden in the acorn.
Every tree is known by its fruit.
A rotten tree bears rotten fruit.
Trees are full of secrets.
A tree’s rootedness points to our rootlessness.

It was seated in meditation under the of a pipal fig tree that the Buddha attained enlightenment.  And there is Jesus’ story about the tiny mustard seed which when planted grows into a great tree, so that birds perch in its branches. Perhaps it was this image which prompted some words to come to me once in a meditation, and which I asked the calligrapher John Rowlands-Pritchard to make into a card – now on display at the Bleddfa Centre:

A Tree Being Motionless Birds Come To It.


4 thoughts on “The tree of life”

  1. I had just come back from walking in a wood this morning, bringing back some leaves to identify, and then being immersed in books on trees. And then I read James and it was wonderful. Anna

  2. This is just so helpful. My gratitude for the gifts of God shared by James with us all over the years overflows. It is so helpful to me and I shall share it with, two friends who have been sharing their sense of loss of self worth since retirement and after a bereavement.
    This is real encouragement for us all to ‘Be Still’. Patience, waiting, listening, being still all take time and is really important . It is a gift and a role.

    Diana Blackburn

  3. James’ post reminds me of a beautiful quote he used in the 1987 Festival of the Tree at Bleddfa and which he cites in ‘Older’:
    ‘Let me look upwards into the branches of the towering oak to know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well. Slow me down, O Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deeper into the soil of life’s enduring values that I may grow towards the stars of my future destiny.’ (Dame Meinrad Craighead OSB)

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