Visit by the inner oak
Saturday morning, after a night scattered with awakeness I’m trying to fall back to sleep. It’s not happening. Instead, one thought meshes into another, and in no time I’m back on the worn track, “What am I doing wrong in my life?”
Mentally and physically, I keep aiming for healthy ways to tackle challenges and to maintain an openminded and accommodating approach. But even though I’m fortunate to work in a field supporting environmentally friendly living, I surprise myself by occasional grumpiness when encountering bumps in daily life. They all add up into a draining pile of complaining feelings of not fitting into the big scheme where planning, executing and reaching goals run at a speedy pace. Above all this hovers a fundamental question, “Why can’t I crack the code to fix my issues, get rid of feeling inadequate and overwhelmed and take action in full speed?”
Finally, I find a stick to poke into my self-propelled thoughts. Not yet out of bed I let the mind drift out in nature and take a wander in the inner landscape. How would nature deal with my questions?
A mighty, old oak appears. I admire the thick bark on the wide trunk, and my gaze moves up at the gnarled branches where I spot only a few acorns and notable distance between the leaves. I would never kick and yell at the tree to produce more acorns, more leaves and more energy. Instead, I admire the strong survivor standing before me.
The size of the trunk signals a life spent through countless years, including wartimes and the formation of urban settings. Today, the old oak deals with pollution which the nearby road drags along. In the landscape transformation since it was a tiny sprout, it must have lost many surrounding individuals in the forest which once was. But the oak still upholds life. No matter how big or small a portion of oxygen it produces, it goes to the pool of breathable air. With age it has grown deep furrows which host insects and is a snack bar for birds. In the treetops birds and squirrels run their families, and below in the ground roots are connected to other species in a web of life.
With gentleness I will look at fellow beings and myself as we were oaks. Appreciating whatever actions we are capable to carry out must be a keystone for this earthly journey. May the oak be with you.
At Surefoot we run activities with space for people to explore and share emotions, motivations and behaviours. With positive changes for people and communities we aim to move towards a sustainable future. See more about how Surefoot can support you.
By Gazelle Buchholtz, Surefoot Associate
The Allerton Oak in Calderstones Park in Liverpool. The tree is estimated to be around 1,000 years old.
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