Thoughts from the Trees

Written by Lindsay Mensch

In my Spanish class, we learned the proverb, “El árbol que crece torcido jamás su tronco endereza.” Translated, it means, “The tree that grows crooked never straightens its trunk.” It refers to the idea of change in people; once someone has established who they are, it is hard – and often impossible – for them to change.

Fall is a period associated with transitions, change, and the passing of time; of all the seasons, change is most evident in autumn. The lively green leaves transform into deep red, fiery orange, and rich golden hues. The change is so prominent because of the manifest of such physical beauty and the signaling of the approach of colder weather. It seems to me, however, that the trees are always changing. The bareness in the winter, the budding and blooming in spring, and the fullness and vitality in the summer months are all phases that trees pass through. They are all acknowledged, but the autumnal phase is most notable. Aside from the physical change in the trees, I think that their role in our world has been altered too. Climate change is continuing on its course, and trees are becoming ever more important in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Poets have looked at changing trees as symbols for the phases of life, the cyclical processes of nature, and even the changes within a particular human being.  I think that even the most crooked of trees has the potential to change. Perhaps a crooked tree is not a metaphor for a crooked person; I like to think of crookedness as the uniqueness in the appearance of each person. There are no two trees that are entirely alike, nor are there two humans. The branches, which hold the leaves, are like the mind: winding, complex, beautiful. Looking at the bare branches of a tree reminds me of the brain, which physically looks just as intricate. The leaves are our thoughts, attitudes, habits, and actions; we can go through phases of growth, productivity, slowing down, and sometimes absence of these things. Each human has an spring, summer, autumn, and winter of the mind.

Our minds, unlike the leaves of a tree, can change with will. We can change our actions, thoughts, and personalities whenever we decide the time is right. One vital thing that we must change is our role on this Earth. If we can stand actively against climate change, we can maintain our planet for years to come. If we can reduce our impact on the world, then we will all benefit. We must pursue this change in our mindset to be successful. We must fight with the trees.

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