On Birds and Trees…


Consider the trees which allow the birds to perch and fly away without either inviting them to stay or desiring them never to depart. If your heart can be like this, you will be near to the way. – Zen saying –

In just over a month I’m making my next move. My itchy feet and gypsy soul are taking me to live in Tanzania for a couple of years and I’m simultaneously excited and nervous. My reasons for embracing my wanderlust so fervently are many and varied. I know some people find it strange, astonishing and sometimes frustrating that I rarely stay in one place for long. 

There are many reasons for why I am always ready to take flight. Firstly, I have this deep fear that I’ll run out of time to see everything and do everything I want to do. The more I see of the world, the more I want to see, and I know i could never be content knowing I didn’t at least try!  Secondly, for a while now I have been feeling unsettled. This unsettled feeling, from experience, is always a sign that I need to make a change. Anytime I have not listened to my heart or to that unsettled little voice in my head, I have ended up frustrated, discontent, unhappy and feeling unfulfilled. I need to listen to my heart. And finally, I love a challenge and embrace any challenge wholeheartedly. My desire to live in Africa has been a part of who I am since I was a teenager. Having visited a number of times, my strongest feeling when I return is always ‘When can I go back?’. My dad says that maybe I need to just get Africa out of my system….who knows? There’s only one way to find out! 

I have come to understand that a lot of this is inbuilt in the person I am and that not everybody has these same urges and feelings. Not everyone wants to be a bird, always ready to take flight and to go somewhere else. In fact, there are many more people who find the same joy, contentment and happiness from building a world in one place, growing their family and putting down roots, like strong trees. The restless birds always need a safe, secure place to land and will return to those same trees for years and years. 

In considering this, I’ve come to realise that these ‘birds’ and ‘trees’ create a balance in life. As much as I am one of the ‘birds’ of this life, rarely staying still and always ready to take off, there are people who remain the roots and the trees of my life, the ones who give me a strong, solid and safe place to return to and remind me of where I came from. 

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