Tree of Life.

By Garth Woodruff - Linden, VA.  Fox Meadow Winery. 

By Garth Woodruff - Linden, VA.  Fox Meadow Winery. 

We use the term ‘meaning behind the meaning’ in the design industry.  I’m sure many professions do.  It refers to the difference between what is said and what a customer means.  Certainly if a customer says I want X, and you provide X, when they get upset it can be surprising.  From the start we have to assume a few things:  We don’t always speak the same language as others, they may be hesitant in disclosing the full truth and therefore we must find the meaning of comments which lurk behind the comments themselves.  I’m simple folk and this can get confusing.  I sometimes don’t know if I mean it or they do, or what meaning I remember, or if other peoples meaning is genuine but I’m supposed to be mining for more meaning because they don’t get it or are shy, or if it’s their meaning behind the meaning or my meaning.  For some reason I had one of these moments with myself, rattling indeed, when I sat to write this note to you.  I have been long convinced that with many years of horticultural experience, with lots of theological debates, with a hand full of applicable classes I have clearly identified the fruit from the Tree of Life.

By Garth Woodruff - St. Vincent - First Botanical Garden in the Western Hemisphere.

By Garth Woodruff - St. Vincent - First Botanical Garden in the Western Hemisphere.

With blind Judo-Christian upbringing I jumped to the Internet to glean a few details with hope to fluff the corners of this written thought when I tripped and stumbled running off my tracks.  I began with a clear answer but I couldn’t pin down how I got there.  The Internet didn’t fill corners with interesting nuances but rather, to my shock and horror, added to my blurriness.  Like the Golden Rule apparently every culture that’s seemly walked this good Earth owns a ‘Tree of Life’.  Ancient Iran has the Haoma tree.  Ancient Egypt says it’s the acacia tree.  Armania, Assyria, Baha’l Faith even Buddhism all have trees with a mythical story to boot.  Buddhist’s even give it a botanical name, Ficus religiosa.  China’s tree must be kept a long way from her peasants in a far away land called Berrien Springs, because theirs is a peach tree that only fruits every three thousand years (not kidding).  With fifteen to twenty more noted including: Christianity, Darwinism and American Indians I was profoundly lost.  Pictures note powerful dendritic branching, symbolizing in each culture the beginning of life, the father of humanity or simply a view of God’s love with the gift of eternal life.  This doesn’t even address the tree of Good-and-Evil, her strange and constant neighbor.  Great goodness! 

The one thing we know is that the meaning behind the meaning of these Trees is clearly not just what fruit they bear.  Or, is the one thing we know, the fruit they bear is clearly the meaning?.....Most of my little philosophical musings have a concise agenda where you get what I’m getting at, but this time we may just have to look for the meaning behind the meaning.  That being said, I still have no idea why I decided the Tree of Life was a coffee tree.