Trees and Humans

Humans and trees are profoundly similar. Both of them grow up.

Trees and humans share a second salient characteristic. Much of their development is hidden, taking the form of unseen underground structures. These invisible structures function as a critical foundation, a robust mass of interconnections and nervous tentacles which support all observable growth. In the case of trees these interconnections lie hidden deep in the earth. With humans, they sit concealed within our mind.

In the case of both trees and people, it is not until a moment of crisis that these hidden structures became available for inspection. With trees, this happens during a blow-down; the tree tips over and the massive root ball is levered up into view. With human beings, the blow-down takes the form of a life crisis. Crisis forces hidden structures into view, makes them emergent in our consciousness, renders them apparent. Crisis delivers a moment of stark clarity.

My experience of TBI follows this event model. It was not until my injury occasioned a forced encounter with a crises that I confronted the tangled root ball that had supported all my prior psychic growth. This cluster of interconnections emerged from the depths of the subconscious in the form of a slow motion pantomime. Reality became a slow motion video that rendered each detail observable. People and ideas no longer flashed across the screen with purpose and dispatch. Instead, thoughts moved at the speed of treacle, and it took months for something entering from screen right to achieve the centre of the frame.

The full picture did not come into focus until I marched across a gritty meringue of ice and snow on my way to the last visit of the year with Dr H. This arduous walk somehow cast a bright light on both my past and present.

During this walk, I realized my mode of cognition had shifted. I saw my injury as part of an extended time line which stretched back into history, connecting the present with the deep past, allowing my entire life to snap into focus. I realized my response to the accident had developed in phases and that these phases were conditioned by my past. The next post details what I found.