Sometimes, your evening walks have a way of surprising you. Sometimes, residents of your neighbourhood contribute magical and heartwarming pieces of themselves to the public space. Sometimes, you can’t help but smile (and maybe tear up a little) at the humanity that is found when you least expect it.
As I spent time reading through the wishes of my urban neighbours, I was struck with the similarity between the messages. No one was wishing for material possessions, rather, they were all wishing for love. Romantic love, friendly love, love for their families. The one thing that ties us all together, that makes us all human, that inspires us all to live life more fully and freely than we could ever imagine.
I left the wish tree feeling both happy and sad, and fully understanding how that could be. We all make wishes and hope they come true, and some of us are luckier than others. But seeing this wish tree in my neighbourhood reminded me to be more patient, more understanding, and more loving towards to my urban family.
The wish tree is an individual tree, usually distinguished by species, position or appearance, which is used as an object of wishes and offerings. Such trees are identified as possessing a special religious or spiritual value. By tradition, believers make votive offerings in order to gain from that nature spirit, saint or goddess fulfillment of a wish. (source)
Yoko Ono has been inviting visitors to write their personal wishes for peace at her art exhibitions in worldwide museums and cultural centres. Ono’s interactive artwork, entitled WISH TREE (1996), has collected over a million wishes to be housed at the site of the Imagine Peace Tower (a memorial to her husband John Lennon) in Iceland.
“As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree. Trees in temple courtyards were always filled with people’s wish knots, which looked like white flowers blossoming from afar.”
– Yoko Ono: All My Works Are A Form Of Wishing
Have you ever come across a wish tree? What would you wish for if you did?