The truth about who you are lies not at the root of the tree but rather out at the tips of the branches, the thousand tips.*
And it’s worth asking: what actions – what acts of generosity or care for the world, what ambitious schemes or investments in the distant future – might it be meaningful to undertake today, if you could come to terms with never seeing the results?**
The ash trees near my home are dying.
I do not know how long they have, but ash dieback is slowly consuming them.
There is no new growth at their tips,
They struggle each year to produce their leaves,
Yet it’s only a matter of time.
If I am open to growth today, then I hold open the possibility of growth tomorrow,
And some of the hopes of what I want to bring forth through my life
lie beyond the sum of my weeks.
I always enjoy what Robert McKee shares,
Often borrowing his words on story-writing as words for life:
Is it so fascinating, so rich in possibility, that I want to spend months, perhaps years, of my life in pursuit of its fulfilment? … No matter what you’ve heard about scripts being dashed off over a weekend, a quality story takes 6 months, a year, or more.^
Therefore, what is wanting to grow from the tips of our lives,
And for whom?
*From Lewis Hyde’s A Primer for Forgetting;
**From Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks;
^From Robert McKee‘s newsletter: What is Your Story Worth?