Tell me, who said that the natural shape of tree is vertical, stretching to the sky, hands high!
I have a river friend, ivy-clad and leaning, who chooses to try for something approaching the horizontal. It is going for the outreach, trying (so it seems) to form a bridge.
Adjacent saplings join in this game of cross the stream, their original trunks bending, branches morphing into neo-trunks, sideways becoming upwards. I remember my Dad telling me to learn to think sideways. The tree-roots hold tightly to the bank, while they boldly strike out over the water, arching rather than falling, bold enough to seek the other bank, wondering perhaps how marvellous it might be to sink into the different soil, other loam, create a different home.
I would slow my life to live at tree-speed to see how this plays out. I imagine the crossing complete, the branches touching down and burrowing in. Meeting new underground mycelium, cousins perhaps of those they grew up with, or perhaps the same – does this net stretch beneath the water course even as the symbiotic trees reach over it? Will this be a new connection, or simply a loop through another dimension, to meet up with old friends.
I have a fanciful notion, that when it completes its crossing, my tree will bury its head into the welcoming warmth and re-root from the top down. Perhaps then it will stand up, upon its once-upon-a-time head, shake loose the old earth from tired roots which, breathing air again, grasp at the opportunity for the greater freedom of being – for a time – not a root, but a branch, to adorn itself with spring flowers, and summer green and autumn gold, to change and be the same and different.
Perhaps the branches so sprouted will forget their time in the earth, as we forget our womb-time, or maybe not. Maybe there will come another year when the bank soil loosens and the trunk leans again. Perhaps it will be away from the river this time, towards the meadow.
Not falling, but arching, a graceful, ultra-slow motion bowing down towards the earth.
There are those who say that there are trees that walk at the liminal hours or when the veil between this world and the others is slight. Perhaps they do, but right now I have this delightful notion that maybe they are not such solemn creatures are we imagine. If we could slow our perception to their life-spans, or speed theirs up to ours, I wonder if we would not see them leap and cartwheel over brooks and barriers, fences and fields, their laughter echoing in the breeze.