I’m about to get a little nerdy and deep. stick with me. you might be surprised by the connections between a simple tree slice and our life stories.
10 Fun Facts about Trees:
- The outer bark is the tree’s protection from the outside world. It is continually renewed from within.Like a tree (I sound like such a hippie), we have our own exterior bark to protect us. We might put forth a version of ourselves that makes us feel safe and yet we know that others are not seeing all of us. Even our close friends.
- Heartwood is the central, supporting pillar of the tree. It will not decay or lose strength while the outer layers are intact. With needle-like cellulose fibers bound together by a chemical glue called lignin, in many ways it’s as strong as steel.
Don’t get me started on heartwood. The idea of having something within us that is strong as steel, that’s pretty cool.
- Heart rot is caused by fungi entering the trunk of the tree through wounds in the bark. These wounds are areas of the tree where bare wood is exposed.
Throughout our lives we experience wounds – the hurtful words of others, loss, bullying, betrayal… These experiences leave us feeling exposed and do damage.
- A healthy tree naturally combats heart rot through a process called compartmentalization. The tree grows around the decayed wood tissue and prevents the fungus from spreading to a larger area of the trunk.
Human beings can compartmentalize during difficult times too. It’s quite remarkable how we can sustain trauma or hurt, and yet continue on. And although our growth continues, that dark mark can still remain in our life story.
I know, a lot of random tree facts and maybe a little more information than you expected. But, are you seeing some connections between trees and our life experiences and stories?
Let’s keep going…
- Trees are sensitive to their environment. If a tree has experienced stressful conditions (such as a drought), its growth is limited during those years.We are also shaped by our surroundings. We may have some in our lives who limit us or keep us playing small. We may meet others who inspire us to do more. When we look back at our lives, there are years where we remember experiencing great growth. We may also remember times that were incredibly challenging.
- Trees are the longest living organisms on Earth, and never die of old age.Trees are immortal; our life stories are too. You probably have memories of people that are now gone but are present through the stories told. If you choose to publish your stories, they can impact the lives of complete strangers – even in the years after you are gone. That’s incredible.
- Trees are able to communicate and defend themselves against attacking insects. Scientists have found that trees can flood their leaves with chemicals called phenolics when the insects begin their raid. They can also signal danger to other trees so they can start their own defense.In communicating our stories, we not only support our personal growth but of those around us. You can likely think of a book that shifted the way you thought or impacted your life in some way. It’s us as human beings supporting one another; tree to tree.
- Trees can help you find your way if you get lost in the woods. I love this one.In northern temperate climates, moss will grow on the northern side of the tree trunk, where there is more shade. Also, a tree’s rings can help point you in the right direction too. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you can see the rings of the tree grow slightly thicker on the southern side since it receives more light. In the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true, with rings being thicker on the north side.Stories are way-finding. By unpacking our life stories, we are given the gift of self-awareness and growth in the present. It’s pretty remarkable actually. Every time I write a story, I learning something new about myself.
- Different parts of a tree grow at different times throughout the year. Typically, most of the foliage growth happens in the spring, followed by trunk growth in the summer and root growth in the fall and winter.Growth happens in seasons. It makes sense – it requires great energy and dedicated focus. Along with it, it requires time of rest, hibernation, and dormancy. Writing your life stories can be hard. It will open you up and leave you feeling emotions that you tried to leave behind years ago. Be gentle with yourself. Remember that growth happens in seasons. You also need rest and restoration.
- The most common cause of tree bark loss is that it’s growing out of its skin, which must be shed to allow its trunk to enlarge.Ah, this is a good one. If we want to grow and change, we need to do some shedding of the old too.
So what do you think?! Not only do you know a lot of random tree facts now, you can see why I love tree slices so much and why I chose one as my logo. I hope it might also inspire you to start thinking about writing your own life stories or to capture stories of your loved ones.
Every tree is unique. In a forest, it might just blend in with the others. But when you examine it closely, it has it’s own beauty and story to tell.
When you’re feeling ready to start, let me know. I’ll share some of the things I found helpful when I got started.