Did you know that the Gingko tree has been with us for well over 200 million years?! You and I may consider this tree with its remarkable fan-shaped leaves a true survivor. Over time it has survived all sorts of challenges: multiple ice ages, the impact of ginormous meteors, fires, and even the dinosaurs. It also survives man-initiated disasters. It was the first tree to grow on the devastated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the first atomic bomb was dropped on those two cities.
The tree is not only known for its endurance and its resilience, it is admired for the beautiful colours of its leaves, the greens in Spring and, later in the year, the Autumn golds.
Yes, when their fruit ripens, they smell pretty awful, but that is only temporary. Their leaves and nuts are gathered because they have herbal qualities that are known to enhance the quality of life. Traditional Chinese medicine attributes many uses to its’ extracts. For example Gingko tea is said to counteract memory loss and thus enhance life. You will find many Gingko based remedies on the shelves of most herbal dispensaries.
And so the fascinating story of the Gingko tree and its leaves, continues to intrigue us. Some funeral companies use the symbol of the Gingko leaf to convey the message that life goes on whatever may befall us. Many goldsmiths use the Gingko leaf motive to create beautiful brooches, rings, and necklaces.
I like the use of symbols, because they carry a wisdom of their own. I choose to use the symbol of the Gingko leaf not only because of its beauty but also because of its resilience – to reminds us just how strong people are in the face of adversity. Often we see the inner strength of people shine-through while they struggle to make meaning out of the setbacks in their life, their losses, or their grief. The Gingko leaf reminds me that regardless of the circumstances, we have no reason to lose hope.
For more beautiful images of the Gingko have a look at the following board: