Wisdom Surrounds Us All: The Enlightening Wood

The Wood Interstice emphasized two ideas that I gravitated towards to: how trees are seen as full of wisdom and have witnessed many events, and the polarity of forests being enlightening, but also dangerous.

The ecological knowledge we gain from trees is immense. We can find out what other organisms live in the area, the type of climate, what weather conditions may have happened recently, and much more. Trees essentially are bookkeepers of the world, which is probably where we got the idea that we could manufacture them into paper products to write on ourselves. They also play as timekeepers, counting the years that go by in how long they live. Cutting a tree down and looking down at the stump shows us the long summary of their time as rings circling within it.

A forest, which is a collection of trees, has oxymoronic, almost paradoxical connotations. While they can be viewed as places of enlightenment and personal growth, they are also seen as treacherous and deathly areas to enter. These ideas together have also produced the idea of forests being places to enter to gain enlightenment at the cost of one’s safety. (Not a great movie in my opinion,) the movie 47 Ronin features the main character entering deep into the woods to face trials in order to defeat the emperor trying to plague the land. The TV cartoon series Avatar, the Last Airbender  shows an episode where the team crash lands in a swampy, wooded area. As they explore it, they find visions of those they miss, or visions of what their future holds. After being attacked by the waterbenders that dwell in this area, one of them shows Aang the large tree residing in the middle of the swamp, which must be taller than most things in the world. He teaches Aang that everything is connected in some way, much how the tree has roots in every part of the swamp. The fact that everything seems separated by something is only an illusion.

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2 Responses to Wisdom Surrounds Us All: The Enlightening Wood

  1. wcturgeon says:

    Ryan, You reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Totoro. Has anyone seen it? Hayao Miyasaki’s movies are always amazing.

    • Ryan Cleary says:

      I haven’t actually seen Totoro yet, but I’d love to. I’ve seen Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, and I really enjoyed both.

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