It's been a couple weeks since I have posted a sensory word of the week, and I wanted to return to the -escent or -escence mini-series. According to Merriam-Webster.com, arborescent means "resembling a tree in properties, growth, structure, or appearance." Collinsdictionary.com cites that the word is derived from the Latin word arbor meaning "tree." The Latin verb arborescere means "to become a tree."
When I think about experiencing trees through my senses, I think about how they look, which varies greatly—short, tall, round, skinny, scraggly, sleek, green, brown, red, orange. I think about the many different structures of branches and shapes of leaves. I think about the wide range of smells—earthy, sweet and flowery, cool and Christmassy, and every once in awhile, downright rotten. I think about the textures—the textures of the bark, some smooth, some very rough; the veiny textures of the leaves; or the textures of the many different things that are produced, from feathery flowers to spiky gumballs, from spiny pinecones to bumpy seed pods, from acorns to apples. I think about hearing leafy branches blowing in the wind or dried crunchy leaves tumbling down the streets.
My thoughts have drifted toward trees a lot lately, partly because fall is here, and I'm excited to see the changing colors. Also, I have been thinking about tree pose in yoga. Last month I started a 9-month Yoga Teacher Training program, and I've been spending quite a bit of time reading yoga teachings and books about anatomy. B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the most revered teachers, counts tree as one of the first two poses (the other being mountain pose). Tree is a standing pose, and standing poses are fundamental because they put your feet in contact with the ground. In his book Yoga of the Subtle Body, Tias Little claims that when feet connect to the ground, it's the starting point for evolving, and one can gain endurance, energy, steadiness, and resolve. Standing with the feet intentionally pressed into the floor or the earth gives a sense of grounded awareness and helps one to feel centered. I suppose tree is an appropriate name for a pose that creates so much.
The word arborescent is typically used for describing plants that resemble a tree but technically are not, perhaps because they seem to have tree trunks and branches or other structural similarities. But what about describing other living beings as arborescent? When I think about what trees symbolically represent, it seems to me that being like a tree is something worth aspiring to. I pulled up some words of inspiration from images on the internet, some which may be familiar.
|Image courtesy of TheQuoteMaster.com|
|Image courtesy of TheThingsWeSay.com|
|Image courtesy of Tinybuddha.com|
Some of these quotes might be familiar and even seem trite, but for me, I also realize how true they are. Trees seem to have magical abilities, changing colors and creating new leaves, yet they are all-natural. They're incredibly resilient, able to withstand cold winter, strong winds, loss of limbs, and even shifts in the earth (we've all seen those trees growing on the sides of steep hills). Trees are self-sufficient, making their own food when given only water and sunlight, and they also provide food and homes for other living creatures. Trees are powerful, grounded, and strong. They let go of what they don't need, and they create what they do need. What do you notice about trees, and what inspires or resonates with you?