Growing on the edge of land and sea, in rough and rocky conditions, thrown and tossed by the winds; the eczema like reddish brown bark peeling off in papery flakes, stands as a symbol of strength, commitment, perseverance, determination and survival, amidst so many adversities. In these ways the Arbutus tree symbolizes the strength, beauty, and uniqueness of the human spirit and our ability to grow in the midst of suffering; and to live fully, even in the face of death and dying.
Christine Piercy writes,
“The Arbutus tree represents that place between life and death, often perched precariously at the meeting place of land and ocean. So it is with those who are dying and those who care for them, as the dying hover in this place of transition between life and death. Those of us who encircle them may long to bring them back into life, or wish that death would take them from this intensely painful place of ‘in-between’. Is it possible that, like the Arbutus tree, there can be growth and beauty in such a place?”