Wondering what this series is about? Start here
The Tree is about growing things; about big, bountiful oak trees that start as tiny acorns. It's a sign that bounty and abundance can be ours, but we need to sprout that tiny seed inside ourselves. We need to work with what we have.
In a world where everything seems to revolve around being a thrusting in-your-face type, aggressively self-promoting and able to talk yourself up, it's easy to feel you've got nothing going for you if you're just not that sort of person and can't play that game.
But the world needs all sorts of people, and I think society is starting, very slowly, in tiny little increments, to wake up to this. I think the days of the loudest, shoutiest, shiniest, highest-pagerankiest, bought-a-million-twitter-followersiest people being lauded as the great successes are drawing to a close. I think society is turning around, and starting to value integrity and quiet decency over being 'out there' and 'in your face'. Twilight Sparkle over Rainbow Dash, for those who speak Brony.
Not all autistic folk are decent people full of integrity. I'm not going to peddle the 'disabled people are special angels put here to educate normal people in their super shiny loveliness' tripe here. There are some utter dirtbags among us. In my time in the autism community I've met autistic racists, sexists, homophobes, obnoxious born-again Christians shoving their God in peoples' faces, obnoxious atheists going out of their way to antagonize people who choose to believe in a higher power, Aspie supremacists, and of course self "diagnosed" fauxtistic poseurs.
On the whole, and based on nothing but my own experiences and the folks I know, I think there is a great well of decency and integrity in the autism community. We have a community of deep thinkers, of activists, of social justice fighters. Of philosophers and artists. Of people whose own struggles have made them more aware of those faced by others. Of people fuelled by a passion for their special area of interest, be it scientific, creative, cultural, spiritual or a simple means of bringing order to a chaotic existence. Of people who show the "lack of empathy" thing up as a lie.
This is what we have.
And this is what we have to work with.
Photo: Acacia tree and vegetation, 1906, by The Field Museum Library via Flickr Commons