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Trees, Water and Symbols

Monday 23rd of September 2013

What first came into your mind when you came across the Trees by Water website?  Did it evoke a particular memory?  Did you find yourself thinking of somewhere you know where there are trees standing by water?  Perhaps you had some imaginary trees in your head instead.

Trees can have many different associations.  We perhaps think of them in relation to how they change season by season.  We may also think about them representing long life, although not all trees grow for hundreds of years.  They help air quality and being in woods or forests can be cooling in summer and warming in winter.  They supply wood which can be used for many purposes, not least building.  Tree roots often go down a long way, which shows us that being “deep-rooted” can be double-edged.  When we are trying to get rid of something, the fact that it has deep roots can be quite a challenge, but if it is something we view positively, we may think of stability and longevity as something desirable. It may be the same with the shade which trees provide.  If they are close to a house we may become concerned about them blocking out the light rather than welcoming this quality.

This leads on to another aspect of the tree – they don’t stay the same.  How tall they grow depends on many things, including the type of tree and its immediate environment.  Trees can therefore also be a picture of growth and especially of what encourages and stimulates such development.

This brings us on to water.  Trees tend to flourish where there is abundant water.  We may have a sense of what is necessary for our growth or what helps us to develop.  This may be different from person to person.  The sort of support which works well for one person may be seen as too constrictive for someone else.  It may even be that this changes over time for the same individual according to circumstances.

Using these examples of trees and water, we can see how reflecting on symbols can give us insight into what goes on inside us.  Symbols offer themselves as a way to increase our awareness but also as tools to help us to grow and mature.  We can use these symbols to affirm and strengthen what we want to encourage in ourselves and as support to examine and even to change what it is we may want to challenge in us.