Tree Time

My mind was clear. I looked at the trees in a way that I had not previously. There form registered as much more expressive than I normally notice. They all seemed to look frozen in poses that suggested they were exploding toward the sky. Their striving was palpable. I felt a new connection with trees. Just as we humans strive for this or that throughout our lives, so apparently do trees. The trees, our brethren in struggle. Why had I not noticed before? Perhaps because I usually go by too quickly and they are not really moving so I don’t pay attention. But is this an accurate impression? As I thought on it, I decided that it was anthropocentric. If I were a tree how would I perceive time?

 Backing up, and in the interest of contextualizing the question, what is the opposite end of the spectrum? For instance, a dragonfly lives its entire life within twenty-four hours. Do twenty-four hours to a dragonfly feel the same as eighty-five years to a human? Along this line of reasoning, does one season within a one hundred to four hundred year lifespan of a tree feel as one day to a human? Perhaps a tree feels the rush of time as it strives just the same as a human. Perhaps a tree feels itself working as fast as it can to advance its cause and that of its offspring. Perhaps a tree misses the details of this or that season as it focuses on its goals, the big picture and striving.

 Thinking of a driven, ambitious tree striving to achieve is more in keeping with the formal qualities of some hardwoods. They grab toward the sky with their whole being and concentration. And yet, also like humanity, they remain grounded in their corporeality and that corporeality’s relationship to its environment. But am I really fast and are trees really slow? It must all seem so comical to those little bird species that (to us appear to) twitch and dart about and snap their head this way and that taking in their surroundings. Perhaps to them, the pace at which humans move is generally indistinguishable from tortoises and only somewhat faster than the pace of trees.

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