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For the New Year: Growing with the trees

Photo: Joel Jasmin Forestbird unsplash

A tree's rings tell the year's story – was it rainy, dry, mild, cold, stormy? Did spring come late, winter too soon? The trees around us, whether spruce, fir, beech, oak, ash, or alder may have different sorts of wood, but they all have a common ring pattern. That's just how things are when you share the same location, soil and climate.

What will our "annual rings 2021" look like one day? Will they be the imprint of all-encompassing climate change? Of the political climate, the economic climate, the climate of opinion, the world climate per se ...? Doesn't all this leave impressions deep within each tree, within each one of us? Somewhere a laboratory door wasn't closed property or a bat got eaten – and a few weeks later we're all working at our kitchen tables. No more work commute.

It's quite all right to be startled by that. Things like this leave their mark. But it's not only your little grove that's taken a beating, whole forests are dying, whole species, cities, industries on top of that. Everything has consequences. We felt it coming. "The world has become small enough that each act results directly back to the perpetrator". Now we understand what [the German philosopher] Peter Sloterdijk meant by that in 2010. But what conclusions have we drawn from this? Are we becoming action-less, heart-less, head-less?

Let's focus on the difficult tasks ahead, let's "venture progress" are the sounds coming out of Berlin! "Whether that will work out?" ... is the lingering doubt we hear from the German forest. If you shout out "flexibility, digitisation and adaptation,” the words "stability, solidity, reliability" echo back.

Does this have to be a contradiction? Or is it our NEW way of bringing seemingly incompatible things together? Trees stand where they stand and have to hope, for sun, for rain, for better times. We can change our standpoints, find new perspectives, even change climates.

Moving instead of putting down roots does not mean losing our roots. A piece of wood in the hand is like life: It has substance, warmth, structure. You can make many things: from it, with it, on it... And it becomes more interesting the longer you "use" it.

We wish you a strong 2022. In which we dare to venture something, to move and grow solidly. But without haste, without the rush, no running. Because strong trees do not grow faster for it.

Words for the turn of the year 2021/2022 from Gerhard Fuchs,
Managing Director of "die fuechse", a consulting company
for marketing, loyalty and change, Eschenlohe/Bavaria.


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