Every other week in my English workshop in a senior serviced residence in the Loire Valley we have a debate in English on a given subject. Monday morning the subject was – What are your feelings about trees?

Andrée often waxes lyrical and I particularly liked her contribution this week (a contribution she had meticulously prepared in advance, as always). Here is an excerpt followed by some of the other contributions:

“I love nature and all the beauties that it brings. But it is true I have always had a preference for the trees. Moreover, I met a remarkable sample which gave me the following advice that I listened to with much attention.

– stand tall and proud

– go out on a limb

– remember your roots

– drink plenty of water

– be content with your natural beauty.”

Chantal has frequent back pain. She often finds a tree to lean up against to infuse her back with strength and energy. She finds trees to be a source of peace and an inspiration to meditate.

Jean-Pierre appreciates trees as friends. He has been tending a garden for many years and prunes his lime trees every three years “en tétard”. A traditional way of pruning allowing for the harvest of branches for various uses and also to stop trees taking up too much space. Trees provide him with apples and walnuts at this season for which he is eternally grateful.

Ginette told us about a friend who followed her physiotherapist’s advice for back pain. During a walk in the forest, feeling tired, she stopped and rested her back against a tree trunk, as instructed. After a few minutes she screeched and retreated. Thankfully Ginette was there to help her friend remove a column of ants that had climbed up her back.

Other frequent comments mentioned finding peace and a meditative frame of mind around trees or in forests. Most felt a pang of sadness and despair with the arrival of autumn and the disappearance of the leaves, not to mention winter cold on its heels.

We all agreed that autumn is very nice and completely necessary but that it should really only last a week or so.

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