May 9, 2016: Axis Mundi

I climb branch to branch.  I travel up alongside the trunk, and I might circle it, but I often ascend and descend without ever touching it.  How different a tree is if one thinks of the trunk as its essence, as opposed to thinking of its leaves as its essence, or its lateral branches, or its seed-producing apparatus, without which there would be no more tree, and would not have been this one.  I often get lost in the observation of branch-shapes or mosses or slowly thickening buds, or in the contemplation of light and shadows and moving air; but today I think of the trunk.  It is a bit like a traveling companion as I climb, as the stone slab was my traveling companion across the meadow; it is always there, slendering or thickening as I go up or down.  A kind of axis mundi, I find myself thinking today.  The center of the world, running up and down through the omphalos, the navel of the cosmos, bridging earth and sky and tying them together.  Symbolically, it is what allows the human to ascend toward the divine.  It is Jacob’s ladder and wrestling angels.  It is the tree of life, and of knowledge.  

Strange, these tall branched beings, reverberant with meaning.