Tree School Revisited

One from the archives while I try and find my words again..


Trees have a kind of magical power in my life. (Thank you, Enid Blyton!) 

When I look at them, I gain perspective. 

Summer trees aren’t better than winter trees, because it’s not about the number of leaves a tree has, its about the tree itself. 

A tree is tenacious, strong, grounded, life giving. 

It doesn’t become more or less of a tree because of what it’s wearing. 

It doesn’t become more or less of itself, because of what it’s wearing. 

Why do we struggle to learn this lesson from the trees? 

It isn’t about our leaves. 

Worth doesn’t come from your wardrobe. 

When I wear my cobalt blue jumper, I feel great, but it is just a feeling. The jumper isn’t magic. It doesn’t change me. 

Worth certainly doesn’t come from your car or your bank balance or your job title. It doesn’t come from your marital status, or your progeny and how well they behave in a cafe. It doesn’t come from the step count on your Fitbit or the number of projects you’re juggling. 

All of these things have an impact on how we feel about ourselves, but they aren’t who we are. 

Somehow though, we have bought into this lie, that the leaves – our outward appearance, our accomplishments and the badges we wear – mother, wife, healthy person, clever person, caring person, martyr – matter most. 

They don’t. They don’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things. Yet it seems they have so much power over us. 

I think we sometimes use these things as a salve for our souls, or props on the set of our lives. 

If I can just wear the right outfit, if my kids behave, if I get that job, if I’m “on track”, if I weigh XX kilos, then I’m okay. Do you ever feel like that? 

Because you’re here reading, I feel like we have some kind of relationship, so I have an invitation for you. 

I invite you to ponder this lesson from the trees. 

Think about the human equivalent of leaves – our clothes, validation through others, work, weight…. what role do they play in your life? What power have you assigned to them? While you’re pondering these things, please practice self-compassion. ❤️

After I sketched this tree yesterday, I got to thinking about my great aunt Adeline, who was a gifted artist. I was thinking about her style of painting and my style, and how different they are. She painted trees, and I sketch them.  They are identifiably trees in both instances, but they aren’t the same. 

We are like that too, you and I. 

We aren’t all the same, but we are all people. 

We all have worth and value. 

That doesn’t depend on the season, or the leaves, it simply is. 

You can’t earn it, you can’t get it from others, and you certainly can’t buy it or wear it. 

You can only realise and embrace it. 

Maybe that’s why the trees say wishawishawisha, because that’s the highest wish you can have for anyone. 

Learn from the trees. And please let me know what you hear them wishing for you. 

With love, 

Annette x 



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.