If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees
Something stirred in my heart as early as 4th grade when I first heard the words of Joyce Kilmer’s Trees . . . I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree. I grew up near the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey, climbing trees, creating forts, and sometimes just walking in the woods for solace and comfort when I felt lonely. During college in Ithaca, New York, I encountered a whole new world of trees, and I began to see the spirit – or deva – within trees. A sacred bond was formed between my own depths and the inner nature of trees.
These days, wherever I live, I form relationships with the trees around me. The cherry trees in flower in front of my house warm my heart each time I look out the window. To the left of them is my protector Oak, who I talk to frequently, as he towers over my front deck, dropping acorns, shedding leaves, providing comfort. Right now he is jubilant in his new spring growth, reminding me of eternal renewal and my creative resources. Some days he is truly my saving grace, reminding me of my own inner strength.
The trees I have known have taught me about interconnection, that I am surrounded and held by other conscious beings. They teach me how to get back to relationship with the Earth and all of life when I have lost it. As I look out my window, or walk around the lake, I feel their presence and I am renewed. Sometimes I play with exchanging breath as I walk through the woods, feeling my exhale as a gift to them, and receiving their oxygen on the inbreath. This simple exchange centers me in the present moment.
I write this in gratitude to all the trees I have known and loved. Sometimes I have moved on, but you have shaped me in ways I will never forget.