This is the Wisdom Tree. It is located at the top of a long, hard hike in Los Angeles. Being at the top of this spot made me feel like myself. To be straight up – I hate hiking. I don’t consider myself athletic. My friends convinced me to go on this hike, telling me I could do it. As I spent an hour going up, I struggled. I fell on the rocks. I was dirty. I was somehow both hot AND cold. Then I got to the top. Looking at the Wisdom Tree, I felt so much strength both in myself and in the tree! It’s just thriving alone in a dry, dirt covered area. It even survived a big brushfire on the mountain that killed off any other trees. According to legend, the tree was planted as a Christmas tree and somehow managed to survive (Aron.) Now tons of people go to it for inspiration. A man named Mark Rowlands took a box up to the tree and left some journals and writing utensils. Now, everyone goes up and can either share wisdom or read others. I sat on a log on the mountain reading all the inspirational messages others had written. Some were light hearted and fun, and others pored their heart out. All the inspiration came from the tree that had survived against all odds. This is something that I identify with. To me, this carries my history as well as many others.
I have always identified as an “inside person.” I’ve always either lived in suburbs or cities. I’ve always enjoyed the comforts of being inside. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to branch out more. Although I live in Pennsylvania, I go to Los Angeles often. Although it may seem ironic because it’s a huge city, it’s made me appreciate nature more. Natural landscapes on the west coast are so different than the ones we have here. I realized at a certain time I had grown immune to recognizing the beauty in the greenery in my own backyard. The Wisdom Tree helped remind me of that. In her piece “Small Wonder” Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “People need wild places. Whether or not we think we do, we do. We need to be able to taste grace and know once again that we desire it.” This rang so true for me. I need to be reminded sometimes. I think we all do. Nature reminds us how small we really are. It reminds us of both our strengths and our weaknesses. It can give us hope. In addition to the spiritual/mental benefits that nature gives us, Kingsolver reminds us that nature physically gives us all the tools in order to live and have our creature comforts. She reminds us, “that the oxygen in our lungs was recently inside a leaf.”
Aron, Hillel. “The Wisdom Tree Is Becoming an L.A. Landmark. But Will Fame Kill It?” LA Weekly, 22 May 2019, www.laweekly.com/the-wisdom-tree-is-becoming-an-l-a-landmark-but-will-fame-kill-it/.
This source tells about the way the Wisdom Tree came about. It shares it’s meaning. It also discusses how it becoming a hiking hot spot may one day put it at risk. It is written by a staff writer to a popular Los Angeles magazine. It includes linked sources.