I love trees, especially in the hot TX summers. Mature, strong trees provide shade to cool off, strong limbs for fun & imagination, & a strong trunk for a great resting place. While much of nature takes advantage of what is seen, there is a story in that tree that we can’t see.  If you were to cut down a tree & look straight down on the stump, you would find one ring surrounding another & another & another. It is in these rings where the story of the tree is found.

Studying Tree Rings

Dendrochronolgists study tree rings with specific & scientific techniques for a number of reasons to understand:

  • The past of the tree
  • How the tree’s current environment is affecting the tree
  • The future environment in order to develop positive change

These scientists get to know the tree. How old is it? What trauma has it experienced? What is going on around this tree now that is playing a part in its growth & it’s life? What can the future of this tree look like? However, dendrochronology is more complicated than just counting rings. Dendrochronologists know how to spot things such as false rings, which actually have a different cellular makeup than true rings & fool the novice into thinking the tree is older than it actually is. They can see if a tree experienced a dry season or a rainy season, as well as any scarring from trauma like fire or lightning. All of these things reveal the story of the tree.

What Would Your Rings Show?

Humans have rings as well. You can’t cut us in half and see them, but they are there & they tell our story. Each year, we have 365 days to make a full circle before we move on to the next year. And within those 365 days, marks are made. False rings may reveal a time when we tried to be someone we weren’t made to be. Some rings may bear witness to a dry season while others may reveal a season of abundance. Still others may reveal the scars of trauma and pain that we try to forget.

I drew my rings one time, one circle for each year. I saw a visual representation of my story thus far: the good, the bad, & the ugly. When I finished & considered this piece of art before me, I saw things I continued to carry that made me weak, as well as how some experiences were necessary to become who I am. It also prompted me to take steps to move towards positive change.

Need some help dealing with your rings?

What about you? What do your rings look like?  Is there abundance you have forgotten? Are there seasons of desert you’ll never forget? What have you learned from those years? Have your experiences made you strong or has the burden been too great? As a counselor, it is my honor to walk with individuals as they discover their own story & begin to experience positive change in their own lives. I would love the privilege to visit with you & may be reached by phone, 940-222-8702 ext 702 or email amy@acorncounseling.services.

Amy Glover, LPC Intern Supervised by Sharon Beam LPCS

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