The shape of a deciduous tree in winter without leaf is a cosmopolitan motif. Consider, for example, the branching behavior of a tree, be it maple, oak, chestnut, elm, or beech.
As a tree moves from Heaven to Earth collecting into branches, consolidating into trunk, and outflowing into roots, it forms a great repetitive dendritic pattern seen everywhere in the waterways of the world. Dendritic comes from the Greek dendron, "tree."
This dendritic pattern appears across the surface of the Earth's landscapes as the arterial system guiding rain and melting snow from mountain and plain to valley and sea. As raindrop and snowflake become trickle, stream, and river, gathering into main stems (trunks) like the Mississippi, the Amazon, and the Nile, they come together in their flowing only to dissipate again over the great deltas where river and sea meet.
The creation of a sands trees.
Here the waters spread out over the submerged land of the continental shelf and maintain the integrity of their past flowing when the glaciers of ancient times hoarded unto themselves the water and lowered the level of the sea. Today, with the death of the Pleistocene glaciers, these rivers flow in secret, sandwiched between the pulsating sea and the continental shelf, building their deltas, expanding their ever-changing network of channels as each discharges the fresh water of its being into the salty body of the sea.
What is hidden by the great body of salt water, however, can be seen in miniature on its sandy shore as the receding tide leaves it musings in the shape of little trees with their collecting branches, uniting trunks, and outflowing roots.
A Sand Tree.
This dendritic pattern, which unites land and sea, is sculpted by water under the tutelage of gravity. But not so the tree itself, where its trunk defies gravity's tug and sends skyward its branches to bear leaf, flower, and fruit. The leaves in turn send the sun's energy downward through branch and trunk to feed the hungry roots.
A Sand Forest.
As a cosmopolitan motif, trees represent the spiritual ground out of which the human struggle for consciousness evolves; witness the battle over old-growth trees in the Pacific Northwest or in the tropical rain forest. As the oldest living individual beings on Earth, trees also represent the continuity of life in time and space.
©chris maser 2004. All rights reserved.