Have you ever thought about what shapes us?
The notion came to mind as Summer blustered in early, all moody skies and hot sticky breath.
Recently I wrote about the impact siblings have had on my life and how it has shaped me as a person. The influence other people, events and environment have on us, is also a deciding factor in who we become. Not that I’m suggesting that we reach some end game in all of this person-shaping. Who we are now is not who we will be tomorrow, or beyond for that matter. I firmly believe we’re all works in progress.
Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
Now, with the advent of the new season, I see all around me the way Nature shapes gardens and indeed, people. Only a few trees and plants are deciduous in the subtropical climate of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. But those that do lose their foliage over winter are enough to remind me of the seasonal influence. There are other forces at work too.
On my walk early this morning I was reminded of this by an amazing example of a tree shaped by the wind. When I took the above photo during winter, the tree was leafless and bare. Now it’s ‘frocked-up’ with the new summer season’s green growth. In addition to the more temporary changes in its foliage, I pondered how the prevailing southerly wind across the waters of the Terranora Inlet have sculpted its unique shape over the seasons of its life.
In the same neighborhood, others of its genus are less remarkable in form. They too, are governed by the conditions of their location and their environment. In suburban gardens, gardeners may impose dubious aesthetics of shape, pruning the poor things to within inches of their lives; perhaps imagining their work as some ‘improvement’ on Nature. Or in more expansive public areas where space allows, this variety of tree might express its more natural form. Factors like soil , degrees of light or shade, nourishment and water are also instrumental to its growth patterns. Planted in the wrong place these trees may fail to thrive. Given optimum conditions the reverse is true and they become something to behold.
Kind of like us don’t you think?
More opportunistic plants court serendipity, like this tiny vinca/periwinkle which has bravely ridden the winds of chance to thrive in an unlikely place – the embrace of a huge fig.
Perhaps there’s a lesson for me there .
Only a fool plants a cactus and a fern in the same planter box and expects them to thrive.
― Germany Kent