The tree that shed tears

Collaboration with the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Center

Ιt seems to me that it all began one day as I was untying my shoelaces. After my usual walk in the riverbed, and in an attempt to take off my shoes, my hands got stuck to a little seed that had hooked itself on my laces. I immediately began to reflect on the great mystery it held inside. How and when, in other words, does a seed decide “IT IS TIME TO GERMINATE”?

I was then reminded of my teacher’s words. She had told us that a seed needs a combination of humidity, the right temperature, light and air to take the momentous decision to peer out of its capsule.

How similarly I felt! Did I not also need the same elements in order to free myself from my own shell, in order to grow? I thought that I take light and warmth from the sun, water from the rain and oxygen from the air.

At that moment I felt the need to get out and look for these basic elements that together compose life. From the window of my room I no longer see trees and sky but only high-rise buildings…Preoccupied with these thoughts I picked up my camera and went down to the riverbed, feeling just like the little seed which the wind transports until it finds a suitable place to grow. I decided to look for the light, water and air – life’s elements.  

I went on my way with a sense of being hypnotised by the beautiful, multicoloured reflections of the trees and plants in the pools of the riverbed. I understood what an important element water is if life is to exist.

Like a sleepwalker I went on and, as if in a dream, I entered sunlit paths where the light on the grass and the foliage of trees appeared ever more brilliant. As I observed the games the sunrays played on the leaves, I once again recalled my teacher’s words. This abundant oxygen that was now filling my lungs was a gift from the leaves themselves, as they absorbed light in order to synthesise their greenery, their chlorophyll.  

Among the foliage I noticed for the first time certain mysterious forms looking at me. As I continued on my way, I experienced the strange sensation that somebody was following me. I felt that, among the trees, strange figures were hiding, which at times seemed like people and at others like animals that were timidly beginning to reveal themselves to me. 

They later went on to talk to me in the forgotten language of mythology and told me that they were dryads, the nymphs of the forest. By the time I could catch a good glimpse of them, I would lose them again as they were constantly in motion, leaping acrobatically between the tree trunks and the branches. Dryads move incessantly around the forest, forest-walking. 

I also became acquainted with the amadryads, the souls of the trees. These nymphs cannot walk the forest because they are connected only to a single tree. It was the amadryads that revealed to me the great secret: why do trees sometimes shed tears?

When we humans harm a tree, we also harm its amadryad. Despite the pain a tree experiences when it is injured, it reacts very differently to us humans because it knows how to forgive, as if it lives only to offer of itself. Contrary to us, trees give without asking for anything in return. When we hurt a tree an eye forms at the wound. The eye sees the person that harmed the tree and imprints that person’s appearance. Not, however, like a human, in order to take revenge, but as a tree, in order to forgive. In this creative way, the tree sheds any bad thoughts it may harbour for the man that harmed it. The eerie appearance of certain trees comes about when they are struck by lightning or storms.

I marvelled at the extraordinary wisdom of the trees and I too began to cry softly, perhaps in a need to apologise or to thank them for everything they so generously give to us. 

On my return home I was very glad that I had managed to record this whole experience with my camera, and that is why I have shared it with you. What would take me a thousand words to explain to my parents, I can so easily share with you, my friends, through these images. You know, us younger ones have imagination, and we can easily converse in pictures. Let us not forget, as an old wise saying from the East goes, that one picture is worth a thousand words.

I felt a very deep satisfaction that I was able to talk in the forgotten language of trees. I also felt that, from now on, my relationship with trees would change radically.


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