This week I went on a 2 day course called Tree Identification: The Challenge of Early Winter with botanist Ros Bennett. It was brilliant. And now I’m even more into trees than I was before, which I didn’t imagine was possible. Hah!
Table of Contents
On belonging with trees
It’s quite incredible that I can go to places full of folks who look nothing like me, and still feel I belong there. Of course, I’m used to that, somewhat, in tech, but it’s more pronounced when I leave London to go on tree courses.
Wild in the City is what has made the difference for me. That, and my ever-expanding knowledge about trees. I know enough that I’m getting less worried about getting stuff wrong, because I feel I’ve already demonstrated that I know things. Like knowing hornbeam is native and was either fagacae or betulacae (it’s the latter) and that yew is taxus. So glad I started learning the scientific names on my own a short while ago. 🥰
I really value growth, but I find that sometimes a learning mindset collides with stereotypes about folks’ capabilities. For example, programmes to support black folks in tech often focus on mentoring and teaching, i.e. assuming black folks aren’t better represented in tech due to a lack of knowledge, rather than appreciating it’s a systemic oppression issue and getting to the root of the actual problem. Anyway, I digress.
Fanning the flames of my love affair with trees
I’m becoming full-on obsessed with trees. Even before the course was over I was researching other courses to go on. When I got home I continued frantically looking for tree events to go to, and thankfully I found one.
Yew is still one of my favourite conifers, but I’m appreciating many of the others now too. Firs, spruces and pines have lovely needles; the cypress family needles smell delightful when crushed, and some cedar cones are so aesthetically pleasing to me, spruce too. And I got to hang out with redwoods! I didn’t even know there were redwoods in the UK. Their bark is so soft. Lush.
I didn’t think I would get any confidence identifying conifers, but I did. And I feel extremely confident about broad leaves native to the UK now.
I can distinguish silver birch from downy birch, identify goat/grey willow (need more practice to separate them), and tell you which trees are in the beech family (beech, oaks, (also, naturalised sweet chestnut)) and birch families (birches, hazel, alder, hornbeam). And I can give you some of their scientific names. Anyway, enough bragging.
After spending hours in the middle of the night on Twitter on my phone earlier this week, I decided against timed social media breaks. Because even without the app and with my phone on greyscale, I’m still spending hours scrolling through it on my phone. So, I’m limiting my consumption to desktop/laptop use only.
In addition, I’m follow my joy with writing. I aimed to write 25 mins twice daily, of whatever I like. And treat myself to a 5 min fun break after each session, with comedy on YouTube. However, having slept badly a couple of nights in a row, a lot of my plans went out the window as I struggled to get my energy levels back to a decent level.
I focused on repairing my sleep hygiene, and enjoying trees. I’ll try again next week.
Speaking of sleep…
Who are you?
Being yourself costs different people different prices
Wishlists whilst chronically ill
I borrowed a friend’s heat pad at the weekend and it was incredible. Impatient to get one for myself. So, a heat pad is top of my list. But also, time off to rest.
Musing about a lot of health-related things this week…
There is so much we don’t get told about the bodies of folks who have periods. And so much ignorance and dismissal from medical professionals.
And, also on my wishlist…
Tell me about yourself…
If you were to talk about yourself in 20 slides for 20 seconds each, what would you say?
I talked about:
- They / them are my pronouns. Correct yourself and each other if you get it wrong. It’s important to me.
- Liberating Structures
- Writing, my novel, recipes and a collection of poetry
- Wellbeing & recovering from burnout workshops
- Herbal tea & being alcohol-free
- Circadian rhythms
- Meditation & retreats
- Tales from a Black Universe + Galdem: Queens
- Steven Universe and Garnet <3
And some job history stuff. My colleagues said I have a lot of interests. I hadn’t really thought about that before, but it’s true. One of my friends asked me if there’s anything I enjoy that I don’t become a specialist in, which felt nice.
This week in audio
“Quiet is quietening”, Gordon Hempton, audio ecologist
I’ve been listening to stuff about silence, quiet and listening, as it happens. And I’ve been hanging out with trees. Which wasn’t as quiet as I expected – because I was studying with a group, and it involved a lot of tuition. I’m seeking more quiet times with trees.