A Christmas tree was still a tree before it was decorated.
Our judgments about how beautiful or special the tree is with its lights and decorations does not change its essential nature –
The tree is. What we do to it and with it does not alter the tree. It was not hoping to be picked to be your Christmas tree. It is not jealous of the lights your neighbor put on its tree. It does not bemoan its sagging branches under the weight of your handmade ornaments. It just is.
So are we.
Without Instagram or Facebook, trees can just be what they are, taking in what they need to live, giving out, in perfect design, what we need to live: oxygen. They bend towards natural light, they extend their roots for nourishment, they are sometimes devastated by disease and pestilence, fire and flood.
So are we.
Trees do everything in their power to survive. Trees pollinate, seed, sprout, become seedlings, saplings, mature, decline, and they die. Trees hibernate to survive brutal winters and sweat in the summer (via evapotranspiration).
So do we.
When I was in the Army, during basic training our drill sergeant instructed us to consider any males we encountered as if they were trees. We were to pay them no more heed than we would offer a tree.
We might do well to consider ourselves a bit tree-like. Focused on the inside as to our existence, our “I am,” and less concerned with how others might be viewing or judging us, or worse, viewing or judging ourselves in a similar way.
Our outward self is a borrowed existence. Our inner Self will survive this iteration — the witness of experience, this “I-amness” endures. This “I-amness” is the tree before anyone donned it with tinsel, ornaments, or lights. We humans, however, take on those add-ons and identify, compare, and judge.
The tree, luckily, seems to always remember that it is a tree.