While mulling over last Week’s Photo Challenge of a Favourite Place, I recalled an old Russian proverb tale “Every Man Loves the Tree that Gives Him Shelter.”
It celebrates regeneration symbolised by the oak tree that grew from the acorn planted by Great-Grandfather on the day his son was born. That child became a Grandfather at forty years old when Vanya’s Father was born and ninety-two when Vanya ( the latest in the family) was born. The old man keeps his grandson company under the tree, enjoying the shade while his parents work in the garden.
“I love my mother best in the whole wide world,” says the child. His grandfather nods, adding ‘Your mother is your shelter, Vanya’ …
Trees shelter and protect. They provide many other benefits.They change with the seasons, bud, flower, fruit and drop seeds. Most grow taller and have a longer lifespan than we humans.
By the gate of the house I grew up in was a Rowan tree. The Scots’ superstition was that it kept any evil from your door.
If you’re fortunate when you were growing up, you had a family to protect you. On the TV news, the sight of a huddle of women, fleeing the bombardment in Ghouta stays with me. They were scurrying away together, shielding small children as well as carrying whatever they could – for the last woman it was a bright blue plastic bucket – in chaotic street full of gray rubble, guns and fear. How will this civil war ever resolve so that the people can live in peace? How will they ever build homes again and plant their Olive trees?
Standing under a flourishing tree lifts my spirits … the way a friend does when we hug … no matter where I am. One of my favourite places full of trees is on top of a nearby mountain ridge. In the quiet spaces within this soft, dappled forest are sculptures created by Graham Radcliffe.
… The story continues …
When the child asks his grandad what the old man likes best, he replies “My tree,” He then fishes an acorn out of his pocket and gives it to the child saying “Plant that and when your mother’s no more and you’re an old dad like me, you’ll not want for shelter till the earth is your roof.”
NB. This is an old story and as a sign of its time has much gender bias. Everyman means every individual to me.
Many years ago I remember we had a speaker from a charity ‘Men of The Trees’ talk to my class of eleven year olds about tree conservation. The organisation has planted 26 billion trees internationally since it began in 1926
(Just found out in Wikiwand that the original English Branch of MOT has rebranded and is now the International Tree Foundation.)
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Balmerino Abbey. National Trust for Scotland. Accessed 29 March, 2018.
Everyman loves the tree that gives him shelter. in FARJEON, Eleanor. Eleanor Farjeon’s Book: Stories – Verses – Plays. Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1950:95.
Top 22 Benefits of Trees. TreePeople. Beverley Hills, Cal. Accessed 29 March 2018.
See also http://www.treesisters.org. Their focus is on reforesting in the Tropics.
All text and photos by Meg
Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and also Copyright © under Australian