Vincent van Gogh (1890). Tree Roots [oil on canvas]. Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum.

The wisdom of life, the book with all its guidelines and secrets, the codex, can actually be found in the forest. Codex is derived from the Latin caudex, meaning “trunk of a tree”. The lowest part of the trunk is where two worlds meet in the binding principles of life, that of ‘above ground’ and that of ‘under ground’, the roots.

In the ecosystem forest, the tree trunk has a special place. We, humans, admire the trees when they are in their glory days with coloured leaves, impressive rising columns, overhanging branches and the abundance of forest fruits, but where trunk and roots meet all life is about, is rooted.

It is the market place where all traffic streams from earth (upwards, water, minerals, roots) and sun and air (downwards, photosynthesis, CO2m leaves) are exchanged, the roundabout on the trunk highway of life. It is the meeting point where growth and development are coordinated, the place where past, present and future meet, the place where the life of the tree started.

Vincent van Gogh painted this meeting point, as only he can paint this. He understood the essence. More than. It was his last painting.