I’m sure you’ve heard the age-old “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” philosophy of perception, and I’m sure you’ve used it before. Whether it was during the most pitiful of pity parties or amongst a record-breaking strand of bitter days, we have all used this concept at one time or another as an “out,” an excuse for our momentary failure. But why not shift perspective? Why disregard the trees?
Trees are beautiful, living things. They breathe, they grow, they age, they adapt to seasonal changes, and most of all, they dwell in a community called Nature. Let’s get metaphysical for a moment. If a tree falls in the forest, it is indeed noticed, even in the absence of human ears. Why? Because it directly affects its communal surrounding. Other trees feel the brunt of the fall and animals lose their homes, thus making creatures seek shelter in other trees. The forest becomes a supportive family. Not to mention, the fallen tree preserves. At the expense of the decomposing tree, others are nourished or perhaps seeds are spread. The unobserved world does, in fact, continue to exist, and it is narcissistic of humans to think otherwise.
How does this help me not to fall victim to creative burnout, you might ask? Why is this even relevant? Because we all have a support system— whether or not we realize it. We have a stoic and sturdy community of people around us who are altered by everything we do. Someone cares. In fact, many people care. I almost think it a disservice to keep thoughts held captive in our minds. Dare I call it uncharitable? If it helps ignite a desire to share your talents, I shall. You have something to contribute, and it could be the exact sequence of words or brush strokes or music notes that will make the difference.
We don’t always have to have validation from the “hierarchy,” the “person around to hear,” or, for the sake of my argument in this piece, professionals who deem writing “good enough.” Good enough for who? For mass media consumption? The general public?
Don’t get me wrong, I would love a best-seller, but sometimes, I just love writing for my trees.