Monday, May 11, 2015

Being tree

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. 
- Chinese proverb

Future perfect progressive

In 2035, that outward boundary of a 20 year planning horizon pulsing deep in the heart of Rochester, in that year some will say this tree will have been planted at just the right time. Though worthy of contemplation, let's set aside for the moment who might sit in its shade twenty years from now or our own actuarial odds of doing so. Instead let's cut to the obvious lesson: if you want something later you need to do something about it now.

You want to be "America's City for Health"? Better be planting that tree. Now is the second best time to do so if in twenty years you want to have planted it at the best time. Don't spend too much time sorting out that sentence - the grammar of aspiration gets tense.

In the meantime...

Of course, the tree that was planted 20 years ago might now provide broad shade, sturdy limbs for swings, and an ample trunk for carved promises of devotion - a Norman Rockwell tree, a Longfellow spreading chestnut. But, it's not like it takes twenty years for the tree to be a tree. It is a tree as soon as it is planted.

With all the becoming-a-great-tree that only twenty years can bring, there are twenty years of being-a-tree along the way. All that a tree is it is already, including all that a tree can be.

Hexagram 53: Chien/Development

The tree on the mountain grows larger slowly and imperceptibly. It spreads and gives shade, and thus through its nature influences its surroundings....The tree on the mountain, like the trees on the earth...represents influence by example. The I Ching

That the tree is, is sufficient. 
It does not take twenty years.
Not a proverbial tree,
an oracular tree.
The tree on the mountain.
The tree on the earth.
The tree in the city.
The elm at the market.
Now is the best time
to plant a tree.
Then just wait
and let it be: tree.

No comments:

Post a Comment