“When I die, don’t bury me under forest trees, I fear their dripping water. Bury me under the great shade trees of the market. I want to hear the beating drums. I want to feel the dancers’ feet.” (from The Goat’s Earth, on Jami Sieber’s Second Sight album)
I’m always intrigued by what seems incongruous.
Today a friend, whom I consider a great nature lover and well-versed in plant and tree wisdom, told me he considers Sycamore trees to be worthless.
I admit I found this shocking. Perhaps in part because I had such great love for a giant Sycamore that held court in front of my childhood home. I thought it was quite magical and as a child when I first began having dreams of flying, the branches of this beloved tree were always my launching pad. Years later when diseased claimed it and other neighboring clan members and it had to be cut down, I mourned.
But even without my personal bias, I think these trees are special. The American Sycamore has the largest leaves of any native tree in America. The trunks can reach a circumference of 50 feet. They can live 500-600 years, and it’s common that at around 100-200 years the trunks become hollow. Animals and birds favor it for shelter, but in the past hollow trees also provided shelter for travelers. There is even a third generation Sycamore tree in West Virginia that in the 1700s provided residence for two brothers, John and Samuel Pringle, for 3 years. Gives a new spin to the concept of tree house!
I somehow like the idea of becoming hollow with age. I don’t think of it as losing essential parts but rather refining our essence and becoming vessels that can truly hold as much light as possible. And like my beloved Sycamore tree, I wouldn’t mind someone taking flight from my branches.