Friday, March 28, 2008

Why Giraffe Head Tree?

My good friend Carroll and I agree that nature is our church. We are both spiritually moved by the profound silence of a deep wood, the slap of waves on shoreline river rocks, the call of an eagle on the wing. Nature speaks to each of our senses. A spectacular sunset has moved me to tears, a lunar eclipse is cause for celebration, the sight of a white pelican brings joy and laughter, and the smell of woodsmoke is one of my favorite autumn pleasures. Every trip into the countryside, walking a woodland trail, or sitting by a waterfall reinforces my spiritual self and brings a peace like nothing else.

Nature is important in my life as nature calms me, but nature also teaches me lessons. An obvious example - many here have asked me "Why 'Giraffe Head Tree'?" What is the significance? The visual allure is obvious. This big old broken off branch clearly looks like the head of a giraffe, while the lower broken off branch appears to be a front leg, perhaps. That was the initial appeal when we first bought this lot, cleared the underbrush and crowned up the trees a little. The tree guy wanted to cut off those broken branches but I wouldn't let him. "It's a giraffe's head - don't you see?" Clearly, he thought me bonkers.

One day carefully walking along the slope to see what treasures were growing there I happened to stand beneath the giraffe head tree and look up. What I saw astounded me. This lovely, old Shagbark Hickory is a survivor. All old trees are, of course. However, this grand tree in her younger years had been tested, had been threatened, had been assaulted for she twists upward like a whirling dervish reaching for the sky with all that she has.

This corkscrew pattern of growth means this tree beat out her competition. Long ago another tree competed for this space, this patch of sunlight, the meager nutrients in that one spot of ground. As they grew the battle became fierce, and this tree curved around her competitor until she eventually won the war. It's a survivor, my Giraffe Head Tree, and it now stands tall and strong as a testiment to endurance.

I use this tree as an example to my daughter - how persistance and patience and determination will win out as she strives daily to reach her goals. Since I'm still a developing person myself, I have posted a photo of my Giraffe Head Tree on my vision board for constant inspiration. She's a grand old lady, this Shagbark Hickory. Today, this post is about her in thanks for all that she gives me.

17 comments:

Nancy J. Bond said...

What a perfectly beautiful post! I can identify with your love for your giraffe head tree -- I, too, have a tree I adore, even though it is dead, and has been for some time. I'm starting a new blog--specifically for photographs and reflections on our provincial native flora, fields and forests--and I've been trying to incorporate a photo of this tree into a header. I haven't found just the right shot yet, but you've inspired me to keep at it. :)

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Very nice and encouraging post. I also like the upward, twisting photo of the Shagbark Hickory tree, aka- the Giraffe Head Tree.

Frances, said...

Beautifully written and we join you in saluting your giraffe head tree. We have a tree that died and had to be cut down, a large old maple, and left a large, ten foot tall stump with arms sticking out and a flat place that looks like a face. We called it ferngully before it died, and still do. It is rotting away quickly, helped along by woodpeckers and insects, but we still love it.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Great post! Don't you wish sometimes that trees could talk & tell us all they've seen?

albertapostcards said...

we've talked about this before and I too agree so much with you and fully understand how meaningful this tree is to you. Lovely, lovely post.

Diane

jodi said...

This is such a lovely bit of writing, Debi. It always makes me happy to hear others share of their connection with a particular tree or trees, and your story is an inspiring one.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Hi Nancy, Daniel, Frances,Mr. Mac's Daughter, Diane and Jodi! Thanks for your warm words for my tree - she's basking in them today and there's a glimmer of a smile on her face.

It's fun knowing several of you have "trees of the heart" as well.

Nancy - your dead tree is such a treasure, and I'm thrilled that it has been able to remain as is as it must not be a danger where it stands. Woodpeckers and other birds love dead trees for nesting sites, and they're a smorgasboard of tasty delights for our feathered friends! Kinda like the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays...

Frances - "Ferngully" is a lucky tree, part of her having been left for the creatures! I love the name, too!

Mr. Mac's Daughter - you have reminded me of something I read recently about "talking trees," but that's not the right phrase. Now I'll be searching all day long for it in my head! THEN another post once I find it!

Anyway, thank you all for your nice comments. Debi

Carla said...

Amen! This is a beautiful post. Wish I had your way with words. And I love your tree!

Tammy said...

I found your blog this past week and have enjoyed it very much!

I loved reading this post, it explained a lot!

Have a bright and happy day! ☼

turning leaf said...

That's one long twisted neck on that giraffe Debi. Such a lovely post about your beloved tree.

xox ~p.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Hi Carla, Tammy and Patti! Glad you ladies stopped by, and thanks for leaving such nice comments - made this gray Sunday morning very special! xo - Debi

Threadspider said...

It is a wonderful tree and and wonderful story.And obviously a source of great inspiration for you, and now for others too.

Naturegirl said...

I think I have found another kindred spirit here!Love what your wrote in this post!
I enjoyed viewing your past posts on this page.
You said:
"Nature is important in my life as nature calms me, but nature also teaches me lessons."..I feel the same way and post images of Nature that move me. Presently I'm discovering and exploring Nature in the Arizona deserts! a Canaadian
Naturelover ..nice meeting you!NG

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Welcome Threadspider and Naturegirl! Glad you enjoyed my little tree story. Today, the GHT is enjoying a lovely soft rain and her green leaves are beginning to unfurl. Soon, she'll have some new native azaleas beneath her canopy, which will make her even happier - and me, too!

Sherry at the Zoo said...

I just found your blog and love this post. It sums up a lot I think. Great photo.

kate smudges said...

I have always been curious about how the name of your blog came to be ... your tree is inspiring. It's wonderful that it can also be a source of inspiration for your daughter. It is a beautiful talisman.

inadvertent farmer said...

What a stunning tree... I have a thing for old trees that have seen and endured so much. I wish I could know their secrets of the past.

Thanks for sharing the inspiration for your blog name.

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