Artifact: Mail from the May Tree – How does this affect my practice?

30 03 2010

When I was asked to bring an artifact to class that represented my connection with another living being, without hesitation I knew exactly where to go: to the same place I’ve been going since I was a small child to think, chat with myself, play, and imagine: The May Tree.  This is a living being I have a strong connection with.  The May Tree and I have watched each other grow from babies to adults, and it is the strongest representation of ‘home’ I probably know.

I have been away the past three summers to work as a tree planter in northern BC, and as such I have missed the May Tree bloom three years in a row.  For two weeks in May, there’s no better place to be than under those fragile white blooms, breathing in the sweetest smell in the world.  It’s been a bit of a cause for homesickness over the past years, I’ll admit.  Tree planting can be a very difficult and trying job, and there are those days where you want to just stomp your foot and say “I want to go home!” like a stereotypical bratty child from a TV show.  I can remember one such day in my second year of tree planting.  It had rained and hailed all day, my crew had been carted around to several different and difficult blocks, which means the land was tough going and it was hard to stay motivated.  Unusually, I stopped at my tent before dinner to change because I was soaked through to the bone, and then dragged myself to the mess tent for a warm meal.  Much to my surprise, there was mail waiting for me!  It came from my home address, but the name at the top in the corner of the envelope was “The Tree”.  When I opened it up, with much anticipation, inside was one dried and one pressed but still fresh bloom from the May Tree.  Also inside was a tiny green note reading “Thinking of you, loving you, it sure smelled sweet this year.  Love Mom, Dad and Amanda”.  The smell of the May Tree, which I had missed two years in a row, was delivered right to me in that envelope!  The tears I cried and cried had nothing to do with sadness, but rather were a symbol of overwhelming gratitude that I had been blessed with such strong home relationships, in every sense of the word.

Here is what I think this experience taught me about teaching:

A friend I'll always remember and hold close to me

So maybe, when we think about relationships in teaching, it’s important that we don’t put boundaries on what those relationships mean.  Who is to say one can’t have a close relationships with a pet, stuffed animal, rock, river, imaginary friend, or a special tree?  To me, the elements of the natural world can be as comforting and valuable as the special people in my life, so long as I’ve developed a relationship there.  My love of trees began with my first love of one tree, and it has carried me to new and more critical perspectives about nature, my place within it, and how it changes.  Thanks, May Tree!

My favourite scent inside

Mail from the May Tree




One response

12 04 2010
Culminating Reflective Inquiry Into My Educational Practice « Morgan Bayda

[…] An artifact representing a connection with some living being – A pressed bloom from the May Tree in the backyard along with a […]

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