ROOTS SHAPES & LINES
The word ‘root’ is used in various ways in English in addition to the obvious one of supplying nourishment to the rest of the tree. The root is the lowest note of a music chord, the end of the tooth that connects it to the jaw and the definition of an essential quality – the ‘root of all evil,’ root of rock and roll,’ and the ‘roots of Cajun cooking.’
Tree roots anchor the tree in the earth, absorb water and extract nutrients from the soil to produce what they need for the tree’s growth and repair. It is easy to see why, when we are checking on the health of a new venture, we are reassured when told it is “firmly rooted.”
Trees don't really have a sense of whimsy. Often, however, they provoke us to smile at the interesting lines their limbs make, or the twists, bends or kinks in their trunks. They fascinate us with the shapes they grow within their bark. We often see these shapes as parts of a human face – eyes, noses or mouths.
With all the variation in shape that trees are capable of, it is no surprise that they should appear in the folklore and mythology of cultures as diverse as Thailand, Japan, Greece and Wales. The Druids of the British Isles thought oak trees were themselves sacred. In Thailand it was believed that some trees produced "fruit" that were actually miniature women. A Japanese tale says the fruits of a Jinmenju tree are human faces that laugh when someone walks by. The Iliad relates that Achilles sought guidance from the Dondona tree, a Greek oracle.