Tree School II

Lessons in equality, from a book about trees. 


I just read these words: “a tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it” and immediately thought of the marriage equality debate, of white supremacists and people reeling from the supposed “power shifts” they see going on in the world. 

If trees can be only as strong as the forest around them, how much more so, we humans? 

When we diminish others, because of the colour of their skin or their sexual preference; when we demand that lawmakers rope off exclusive “VIP” areas where they aren’t welcome – shops, drinking fountains, public transport, marriage, public toilets, places of learning – it diminishes ALL OF US. 

Every person is diminished by such attempts to reinforce a hierarchy where some have more power than others. 

I am diminished by every chant about “the Jews” and “the gays” and “the blacks”, and you are too; even if you’re one of the ones chanting. Even if you chant from a place of profound moral conviction, those chants for legislative imbalance further imbalance us all. 

None of us win by stomping on others. That’s not a display power or supremacy. That’s fear. 

And like trees, fear has a deep, intertwined root system. It’s woven through our religious institutions, our education systems, and our economies. 

Let’s be more like the forest, and less like individual trees, people. We need every single tree to be healthy and connected, otherwise, we are all destined to be felled and turned into mulch. 

Keep looking up,


Annette xx


I posted these thoughts on my Facebook page this morning, and though I could add many, many other thoughts to it, I’ve decided to let this stand as the aha moment it was for me today. 


9 thoughts on “Tree School II

  1. So true. To me, equality and respect need to be the trump cards (not Trump cards). You can hold certain beliefs – that’s fine – but society needs to uphold equality and respect before anything else.


    • Agreed. There does seem to be some confusion about having beliefs and legislating those beliefs, which is quite a worry. Nobody is saying that you can’t believe as you do, the issue as I see it is one of equality under the law.


    • Listening is getting harder too I think. We are now so used to instant reactions, skim reading, hitting that like button, and moving on. Remembering how to engage meaningfully with others, especially over issues so close to our hearts is tough. I fail at it regularly. Passion isn’t a good listener. Sigh.



  2. Connecting with trees is our way home isn’t it.

    I hugged two trees on my walk yesterday. One for me and one for you. I had this post on my mind.

    Let’s add a little of the Dandenong ranges to that coffee when I make it back to Melbourne for a visit.

    Fran x


  3. I love that quote and your analogy about marriage equality, racism, and difference in general. What’s wrong with letting people just get on with living their own lives? We don’t all need to be the same, nor do we want to be – but basic human rights should not have to be fought for the way they seem to be at the moment.


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