“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
It may be January but this is the month in the Jewish calendar in which we honor the trees.
Tu b’shevat is translated from the Hebrew as the new year of the trees. It’s the feast of fruits. Jewish Arbor Day. The coming of spring. In the Middle Ages, the Jewish mystics connected eating the fruits that ripen around Tu b’shevat with deepening their relationship to God.
But for those of us who live where the snow falls, this tree-appreciating celebration is a challenge. While it’s relatively easy to find figs, dates, prunes, grapes, olives, pomegranates to eat, it’s not as easy to focus on growth and the coming of spring when all we see are naked branches.
I think there’s something we can learn from winter trees, a way we might integrate the cold reality of a midwestern winter (where I live) with the spirit of Tu B’shevat.
What if we mirrored the season by looking for the story in those skeletons? There’s one on almost every limb – the way a branch might reach upright toward the sun or droop down toward the ground tells us something of the wind, light, temperature, rain or snow the tree has weathered. Those wooded arteries express a naked truth. They reveal what’s underneath their showy leaves and flowers.
Looking thoughtfully at a tree in its winter wear is like witnessing that tree baring its soul.
That’s my inspiration for 2022. I want to support people who are willing to get a little bit naked and move their story onto the page. To leave their mark in words.
Because like the tree that falls when no one is around, your words won’t have the chance to reach hearts and minds unless you release it from your fingertips and share it with others.
So want to get a little bit naked this winter? Let’s strip down to the bare essentials. We’ll leave quite an impression.
Some of these workshops may help start your writing engine.