She called it the tree of life. In the middle stood a Tiger. It was surrounded by symbols that personify life. Like green palm fronds and an orange pumpkin. Green jumping frogs and a colorful butterfly. A green turtle stood at the bottom of the picture. A purple snake encircled the tiger’s head. The imagery was as vibrant as it was perplexing. Why would all these animals huddle together in an image called the Tree of life? We forget how easily we are all connected she said. All of us are connected to each other. We forget how we need each other too. How this need can become a powerful lure, helping us to endure, all that life offers made sense to my thoughts. That my daughter’s Tree of Life can become a powerful metaphor for life is my keep for today. That and the fact that we need each other.

Tree of Life

The animals get it. Even plants understand this. To hear this desire from a nine year old too is powerful. What is there possibly left for us to do except to embrace all that life has to offer, including our connections to others. Once we accept our connection, maybe then we can start living, knowing that nothing, can have power over us, if connected to us. So from now on, I am meeting people as they are, figuring the connections we have, so that as we bid our time together, we will both equally thrive magnificently like my daughter’s Tree of life.

We took a walk around Forest Park yesterday. The weather in Saint Louis this time of the year is unusually beautiful for a Fall/Winter and perfect for a walk in the park. One thing we saw all around the park were pinecones. There were lots of them all around and fun object to pick and play with as we walked around the park.

My daughter and her pinecone

But did you know that on rainy days, pinecones fold their scales? They do so to prevent seeds from spreading. But on sunny dry days, pinecones open their scales. They do so to spread their seeds at greater distance, far from the parent tree. While wet days are days for retreat, days for silence, dry days are days for building, days for dispersing, days for survival for pinecones. Dry days are how they disperse their seeds, even with scales that also dry, scales mostly dead. But how can seeds spread or even survival from dead cells? Turns out that water plays a huge role. When water is absorbed in response to air humidity, the cones and seeds stick to each other. Whereas, without water, the waterproof seed wing surface rapidly drys, so seeds detach and disperse.

A pinecone
My son and his pinecone

If there is one thing I have learnt from pinecones, it is that your dry days are not only your greatest days, but they are also your days for growth and most definitely your days for survival. Keep being as dry as pinecones.

A pinecone
Our pinecone collection.