Published: 29th June 2021
The Tutu Olive Tree
I have been attending Henley Business School most years since 1990, however due to the Covid pandemic, as with most places, it has not so far been possible this year. Virtual events at the School have been taking place, though obviously not the same as meeting fellow alumni and students from around the world, in person, in such wonderful surroundings.
Whilst the River Thames at Henley is well known for the Regatta, and the rowing races such a joy to see, it is the wider interaction with people that is the big miss. I have shared pictures elsewhere of the lawns at the Business School, which flow down and edge the majestic river as it passes by. The lawns also have some amazingly old trees providing shade, shelter, structure and impact that I always enjoy. Yet there is one tree I have been seeking out over the past few years, a tree that is tucked away out of sight of the river.
It is a small, fairly plain looking tree – small because it is slow to grow; plain because it is green with little in the way of large bright flowers, or large colourful fruits to tempt us to examine more. Yet it has a gentleness that reminds me of similar trees I have seen in other parts of the world; parts of the world that are usually much hotter. It is an olive tree. So not growing in the usual climate one would associate with such a tree. That maybe why it is planted in a sheltered courtyard to protect it, and give it a chance to flourish. Perhaps that is a good analogy for the education provided by this, or any other School – shelter, protection, care with just enough seasonal ‘challenges’ until we have grown enough to flourish.
There is a small plaque in the ground at the base of the tree which states:
This Olive Tree was planted
to commemorate the opening of
The Tata Peace Garden
by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
on 20 May 2006
For some reason the events of the past few months have made me think about this tree and the quiet way it is getting on with growing. So much so that I looked back into my picture library and surfaced the image you can see. The thought may have been stirred as I would normally see it in May or June.
It also made me reflect on the Earth Green colour energy from Insights Discovery – a colour associated with calm, caring and peace. Not an energy, or colour, that aims to stand out like Fiery Red or Sunshine Yellow. Also, one that can stand firm and strong when the cause requires determination…much like the Olive Tree where roots go deep.
Whilst I would not like to see this tree damaged or cut in any way, it is a useful metaphor in our currently troubled world - with seemingly ever more frayed tensions. Tensions all too sadly seen, even exploited, in the general media - and fuelled into flame on social media. It does make one wonder if a few more extended ‘olive branches’ would help our world spin a little more kindly.
With that thought in mind I will consider where more Earth Green colour energy would help develop more kindness. Where more olive branches can be extended.
My best wishes,