“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.” William Blake
It’s true that only a few months ago I had thought those trees, three in particular, were only green things that stood in the way—daring to block my view of those sloping mountains just off on the horizon. “Yes,” I thought, “They’ll have to go.” It was early May and we’d just bought our new wilderness camp perched high on the side of our mountain. The trees had not grown in their leaves yet and those mountains were still in full view of my dancing heart.
I was already imaging how it would be: Yes, of course, I’d create a special ritual and ask permission to take them down. But, I surmised, there certainly would be no problem with their agreement as I’d promise to use them as firewood. Yes, neatly glossing over the permission part, it was all quite settled—at least in my mind.
Little did I know the trees were smiling.
Indeed, for over the summer months, something happened. The first time was in my hammock looking up at that wondrous tree, the one from which the foot of my hammock hung. It was a bright glorious day and I was belting out Sing Allelu and wondering how George Washington Carver knew how to listen to that little flower he’d always worn in the lapel of his scruffy jacket. You have to love it enough, he had said. Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough.
So, why not? I thought. In that moment, feeling like I couldn’t love that tree any more, I closed my eyes and gathered all the love I was feeling and then silently asked the tree if it might share with me. Soon, it felt something like I just dissolved as I was taken gently inside. During my visit, the tree showed me how to enter into the soul of the world, the spirit side of things, right here in this wondrous creation of the most Holy.
Suddenly, I knew, not just that all was alive in this most sacred way, but that it was truly possible to be in relationship with our sacred Mother in a very real, visceral way. I started taking my drum and rattle on walks and found myself singing to the trees, the stones, the leaves, the dragonflies, and sometimes, when I paused and closed my eyes, I could swear I heard them singing back. And every time, without fail, I would find myself restored, held and loved in ways I seldom even realized were needed. One day a song escaped from my heart onto the wind, one I’d never heard before, and I knew it’d been given to me to take and use in my ritual and healing work.
And then one day in late August, looking out from our porch through the trees at the edge of those sloping mountains on the horizon, I shuttered in horror as my eyes fell on those three I had marked for cutting. Oh my, please forgive me. I love you so. Thank you for being here. Thank you for providing a beautiful window through which those sloping mountains are made even more wondrous.
Yes, I have always believed I was one with all in a way that lived just beyond my understanding. But now, I know I am one with all . . . in a way that pulses inside my singing, dancing, heart because . . .
a tree taught me to love enough.
Below is a picture from last May and then two taken around sunset over the summer months…