My Gum Tree – 12 Reflections

In the short time that I’ve been in Yankalilla, there has been one thing that has quietly inspired me so much that I had to write about it.

You see, in my backyard stands an old and quite majestic gum tree that has seen a lot over the years. This is a tree that I see every morning and over time it has got me thinking about life, growth, and the challenges we all face.

Here are 12 refections that this tree, with its simple presence, has made me realise…

  1. Growth Over Time:

I certainly wasn’t born when this gum tree was just starting out, but over time, it’s grown taller and stronger, facing challenges but pushing through anyways.

We’re all a lot like that tree. We start with uncertainties, face obstacles, but with time, we learn and grow.

Our experiences shape us, just like the seasons shape the tree. Looking at this tree every day reminds me of our potential to grow and adapt, no matter where we start in life.

  1. Deep Roots:

The gum tree’s strength comes from its roots, which anchor it and draw itself food from the soil. Similarly, our roots (being our background, values, and experiences) give us stability and shape who we are.

These connections might not always be visible, but they influence our decisions and shape our perspectives.

Thinking about the tree’s roots makes me appreciate where I’ve come from and the (sometimes painful) lessons I’ve learned from my past.

  1. Seasonal Changes:

Like all plants, the gum tree changes with the seasons. It grows new leaves in spring, provides shade in summer, sheds in autumn, and stands resilient in winter. We experience similar phases in life, with periods of growth, challenges, change, and reflection.

Observing the tree’s seasonal cycle reminds me that life will always have its ups and downs, but each phase has its value and lessons.

  1. Scars and Imperfections:

The gum tree’s bark shows marks and scars from its past. These aren’t flaws but are evidence of its history and resilience. Similarly, our scars, whether physical or emotional, seen and unseen, tell stories of challenges faced and overcome.

Looking at the tree, I’m reminded that it’s okay to have imperfections. They’re all a part of our story and they ultimately make us who we are.

  1. Shelter and Nourishment:

The gum tree offers shade and a home for many animals. It’s a source of protection and sustenance. In our lives, we also seek and provide shelter in various ways, whether it’s emotional support from loved ones or guidance in tough times.

The tree’s role as a protector and provider reminds me of the importance of looking out for others and valuing the support we have and receive.

  1. Interconnectedness:

The gum tree doesn’t exist in isolation. It relies on its environment and, in turn, supports many forms of life. Similarly, we’re all connected in various ways, depending on others and making an impact on those around us.

The tree’s relationship with its surroundings highlights how our actions and decisions affect the larger community.

  1. Endurance:

The gum tree has been standing for many, many years, facing storms, droughts, and other challenges. It’s a testament to resilience and the ability to endure tough times. We all face challenges in life, but it’s about pushing through and coming out stronger.

The tree’s persistence reminds me that with determination, we can overcome obstacles and keep moving forward.

  1. Life and Death:

The gum tree goes through cycles of growth and decline, representing the natural flow of life and death. We all experience beginnings and endings in our lives.

Although I have not been around my tree for long enough, I am aware that observing the tree’s cycles will make me think about the transient nature of life and the importance of valuing every moment.

  1. Silent Witness:

The gum tree has been around for a long time, quietly observing the world change around it. It’s seen many events unfold without making a sound. In our lives, there are times when we observe and reflect without speaking.

The tree’s quiet presence reminds me of the value of taking a step back, watching, and learning from our surroundings.

  1. Natural Beauty:

The gum tree, with its rough bark and wide branches, has a simple yet striking appearance. It doesn’t need to be perfect to be beautiful. Similarly, real beauty isn’t about perfection; it’s about being genuine and embracing our true selves.

The tree’s unpolished look reminds me that authenticity is more valuable than any idealised standard of beauty.

  1. Adaptation:

The gum tree adjusts to its environment, whether it’s facing drought or abundant rain. It finds ways to survive and thrive. We, too, face changes and challenges in life.

The tree’s ability to adapt reminds me of the importance of being flexible and adjusting to new situations, ensuring we make the best of whatever comes our way.

  1. Legacy:

The gum tree drops seeds that have the potential to grow into new trees. It’s a way of ensuring its impact lasts beyond its lifetime. Similarly, our actions and decisions leave an imprint on the world and the people around us.

This tree’s ongoing influence makes me think about the lasting impact we can have and the importance of the mark we leave behind.

For me, the gum tree in my backyard is more than just a tree. It’s a poignant symbol of life itself, from growth and change to endurance and legacy.

Personally, its presence has offered me valuable insights into navigating life’s complexities. It reminds me to stay grounded, adapt to challenges, and consider the impact I leave on the world.

I think we all can take a leaf (pardon the pun) out of the lessons that my gum tree can impart. What do you think?


Corey 🙂

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