Spruce – Resilience
Genus: Picea – Family: Pinaceae
Spruce signals a potentially difficult period in our life. Our resilience may be tested on an emotional and physical level. This is a time of tapping into our inner reserves and not giving up even if we feel tired and worn out.
In Sweden, scientists identified a living Norway spruce named Old Tjikko, that was 9,550 years old. It had achieved this age by self-cloning, thus regenerating new trunks, branches and roots in the same space. The word “spruce” comes from the 14th century word “Pruce” which is a shortened word for the country of Prussia. Prus was used as a generic name to describe products, such as trees and leather that came from Prussia/Poland. Since the word prus sounded like “spruce” to the English they named the tree spruce. During the 16th century, the word “spruce” was also used as a verb, meaning, “to make trim and neat,” which led to the phrase “sprucing up.”
Because of its resilient, lightweight properties spruce is also called tonewood. Spruce is the standard wood for many musical instruments, including guitars, mandolins, violins, cellos, pianos and harps. These same qualities are why the Wright brothers built their first aircraft, Flyer 1, from spruce and ash.
Spruce trees are native to the taiga (boreal/snow forest) biome. There are 35-59 species of spruce that grow throughout the northern third of the Northern Hemisphere. Spruce have been found in fossil records dating back 136 million years.
Norway spruce, Picea abies is an important tree in Europe, often identified as a Christmas tree. This association is why it’s species name is abies or “fir tree.”
Sitka spruce, Picea sitchenesis is the largest species of spruce that grows in the Pacific Northwest. It has been known to reach heights of 330 feet.
The indigenous peoples of northern Europe and North America brewed spruce “beer” as a medicinal beverage. The flavor varied depending on the time of year and the type of spruce. By the 1700s, alcoholic spruce beer was common in colonial America and eastern Canada. Spruce is a natural source of vitamin C.
Message: The spirit of spruce reminds us to tap into our inner resources to complete a task we have been working on. Life may be challenging us and causing us to doubt ourselves. Spruce reminds us of our inner resilience and to not give up now. Regardless of what is happening, or what obstacles may be in our path we must move forward to finish what we started and accomplish our goal.
Challenge: Giving up on something or someone because it seems too hard or time intensive. Being hesitant to make a long-term commitment or take on any responsibility.
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