In Norse mythology an important image is of Yggsdrasil- The World Tree- at the centre of nine Kingdoms. There is the squirrel rushing up and down the drunk hurling insults at the the dragon who lies wrapped around the roots. The dragon is awaiting the last battle of Ragnarok, where all will be destroyed before a time of renewal and rebirth is possible.
This cheeky squirrel is a bit arrogant, teases ,loves gossip and speaks to arouse base emotions and reactions often bringing “News”. When we hear the news of events in the world we are often aroused to misunderstanding based on emotional reactions.
Is it possible to form a relationship of interest, questioning and action based on clarity of what it is that each of us is called to do? An colleague of mine (from the Arscura School of Living Art) and I in February 2014 created a two day event/exploration where we were seeking a new way of thinking about and seeking understanding of a world event. We chose to focus on the Arab Spring, in particular on Egypt. We facilitated open listening, a culture of receptivity to the experience of the other in our group of 12 ages 20-84 . We created a space for living questions. We worked using artistic process,( painting and clay) conversation and a presentation by a young man who had done his thesis on this topic.
The way we work with media, information and “news” can play a significant role in our psychological and emotional well being. I have been working with media literacy for over 20 years with students , faculty and parents in Waldorf School communities. What does this have to do with tree conversations?
In May 2012 I was living in Brooklyn and visiting the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. There I encountered one particular large oak tree. A hybrid of some kind. The trees in the Botanical Garden are given space to fully develop free of any encroaching of one upon the other. This tree was near a small fountain so I could lean against the small cement wall surrounding the little water device and not be conspicuous with my pencils and drawing pad. I visited this tree twice. Each time it conveyed a very complex tapestry of images in relation to one another. I felt as though it had many stories to tell..It was a real pleasure to “listen” and I had the feeling I could be regaled all day with new and fresh images continuously. The second time I noticed that the images related to recent world events in particular some events of waters flooding and human lives lost. The tree seemed to be offering some condolence and also to be illuminating how this event connected to other events and a larger story of humanity and the earth. Ah there it was- The Daily News via Radio Rainbow , as AAAOolah my Red Maple tree friend at Claremont had “described” or rather shown. So that is where we can go to “hear” the news perhaps. To discover the web of life and of earth in its rainbow experiences. Perhaps trees can help us understand. Well we certainly can stand-under them!!!