Archive for May 8th, 2010
I took this photo years ago because it fascinated me. The tree had died but still remains standing to this day a dark and dry contrast to the life below it and the clear sky above. In a way, the photo drew me to it as if being drawn to an altar behind which stands the cross. Even in death, this tree serves a purpose. It serves the living and continues to nourish.
In most cultures, the tree has been the symbol of life. So much has been written by so many on the “tree of life” symbol that I don’t want to go into it here as this is a dead tree and must have different symbolic meaning. For me as I allow my imagination to run rampant, the dead tree symbolises something beyond life, a transition or transformation.
Okay, so how did I come up with this? Well, it has to do with when I took the photo and what was happening in my life and how this scene worked on my psyche. To me the tree symbolises a shift in consciousness much the same as the dead wood of the cross lead to a shift in consciousness for the modern world via the crucifixion of Jesus. That crucifixion wasn’t about symbolising death, it symbolises a new consciousness.
In my life at the time when this photo was take, I had entered my final year as a principal of a rural community school. I knew it was my final year both in terms of having reached the right age and having pressure from the elected board. Professionally, I was being crucified, offered up as sacrifice to external powers. I wasn’t going to be fired, but I would have ceased to be principal in that school which I had chosen to be my last school. It was a time of doubt and fear of what was to follow. Somehow, that first week of my last year, when I wandered through the valley where I found this tree, I found hope, that something more would be born with retirement. I knew that in retiring my life as a school principal was going to be over. I would become just another ghost of the past. What I needed to know was that there was life after death, the death of a career spanning thirty-one years.
It has been over five years since that photo was taken and the promises of the tree were true. Not only was there life after career, the shift in consciousness showed me that leaving a career and the phase of life to which a career belongs allowed me time and energy and the passion for the more important task, the task of this life-stage, that of nourishing my soul.