‘Wisdom is like a baobab tree, no one individual can embrace it.’ – African Proverb
I hope you are doing well and enjoyed my last blog about my coachingtrip to Senegal? Like I promised, off we go!
The rainy season in Senegal has just ended and this year there has been a lot more rainfall than in previous years. Climate change is increasingly being felt there too. Still, we are discovering Africa in full bloom and growth.
The baobab tree, known as Tree of Life, is one of the few trees so fascinating in sight, size and feel. On our way to a safari trip, we were confronted with the beautiful African earth colours – Africa counts 4 different colours of sand– and even more how earthy people live there too. When I saw the tree of life, I was immediately triggered by feeling the tree.
The trees reach heights of 5 to 30 meters and trunk diameters of 7 to 11 meters. Its trunk can hold up to 120,000 liters of water. For most of the year, the tree is leafless, and looks very much like it has its roots sticking up in the air.
Baobabs are one of the largest and most important trees in all of where they grow, as they are able to provide shelter and wood. The leaves of the tree are used for making soup and the tree has some medicinal purposes in some regions of Africa for treating ailments such as wounds, diarrhea, asthma, fever, and malaria.
The baobab tree is known as the tree of life, with good reason. It can provide shelter, clothing, food, and water for the animal and human inhabitants of the African savannah regions. The cork-like bark and huge stem are fire resistant and are used for making cloth and rope. The leaves are used as condiments and medicines. The fruit, called “monkey bread“, is edible, and full of vitamin C.
The fruit has a velvety shell and is about the size of a coconut, weighing about 1.44 kilograms. It has a somewhat acidic flavour, described as somewhere between grapefruit, pear, and vanilla.
The tree can store hundreds of liters of water, which is an adaptation to the harsh drought conditions of its environment. The tree may be tapped in dry periods.
Mature trees are usually hollow, providing living space for many animals and humans. The inside of the trees are even used as a religious place.
After the safari tour, we were offered a fresh baobab drink. Brown in colour with a layer of white foam and as pure and clean as juice from the baoba fruit. For me, drinking this antioxidant-packed drink was refreshing and blissful.
5 things that the tree of life represents in times of change:
1. Self growth
The strongest trees in the world– such as the living Tree of Life in Senegal- have weathered the most turbulent storms, and in fact, these storms made the trees stronger.
Trees’ roots extend far beneath the soil, not only to search for water, but to anchor the tree firmly into the ground in case of heavy wind. This explains why the Tree of Life represents personal growth: the stronger the storm, the stronger the tree.
The ancient Celts knew well that those great trees that stood in the middle of their fields, their Crann Bethadh, provided not only a gathering place, but also nourishment and shade, as well as a shelter for birds and other animals.
They recognized that trees allowed their people to prosper, and that without trees, human life could not thrive. Their tree of life also symbolizes all of the nourishment and prosperity that trees provide for humans and for the Earth.
3. Higher Intelligence
This particular tree of life meaning brings us back to the Celts; again, this culture believed that trees were wise, mystical beings. Their culture greatly appreciated the trees’ wisdom, and so, their Tree of Life went on to become a symbol of an intelligence greater than our own.
If you grow a tree in a shady area, you’ll notice that its leaves turn towards the sun. If an object stands in the way of a tree’s growth, the tree will grow around it. This is why no two trees are the same. Think about that. If every tree had to grow in the same, uniform shape, most trees wouldn’t survive, because trees must be adaptable in order to thrive. You, as a human, won’t thrive if you’re too rigid in your expectations of life– just like a tree.
5. Family ancestry
Notice the way that the tree of life represents a large family tree. Imagine yourself as the tree’s trunk– one singular unit. If you were to map out all of your great grandparents, for dozens of generations back, your family tree would eventually look like a massive tree of life, representing the hundreds of hundreds of people that came together to create you. It’s profound, when you think about it!
Be continued …