The aboriginal tribes of Australia call the natural world, “The Speaking World,” by which they mean that paying attention to what you see, hear, and experience while out in nature is important to you. You can take it to heart, you can take it as metaphor, or you can ignore it.
(I teach communication, so I understand that no one listens to everything said. I also know that it is what we hear, and not what was said, that forms our decisions.)
This tree has been struggling for years: from drought, from sun, from neglect. It is in the strip between sidewalk and road, in front of an apartment building. And yet, the tree is neglected despite the people who look out of the windows every day.
The trunk is bleached white. The attachment to the ground is slim and dry. And yet, and yet. . . The tree lives. More than survives. The tree thrives.
Here is the rest of the tree.
For the weary passerby, for the uncertain walker, for the one who paces in the apartment, lonely and tired. The tree is not dead. It thrives in the Speaking World.
—Quinn McDonald is writing a book about The Invisible, Visible World. She teaches creative communication.