What I Learned From Trees
When I was in high school I went through a "hippy" stage. I stopped wearing makeup- oddly before this stage I was goth- I preached about world peace and hugged trees on a regular basis. Nature was where I found my solace. My youth was a sad and lonely one. Growing up with a single mom of six kids, we were left to fend for ourselves. So nature had become my safe place. An escape from my reality.
Trees especially have been a large part of my connection to nature. In fact one of my all time favorite books is "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. In the book, the tree worships a boy and gives all of itself to the boy throughout his life. It was true unconditional love and one I too felt when I connected with trees.
Perhaps I was a ferry in a past life. I don't know. But living in the Pacific Northwest, I have found myself surrounded by these hovering, protective and awe inspiring life forms. Recently I was laying on the grass with my ten year old son admiring the beautiful trees around us. He started talking about all that they give us. They give us shelter, warmth, energy, oxygen, protection, shade, tools, food, water- to name a few. But what they give me is so much more.
One day, when I was in the heat of my divorce and feeling lower than a sewer rat, I went for a walk and looked up. What I found was something astonishing. I saw these trees as strong and sturdy, yet soft enough to be able to blow with the wind and go where it leads it. Trees get rained on with gust force that would knock anyone down. Yet they still stand. Trees get cracked, trimmed, and cut down. Yet they regrow. Trees befriend their neighbors and make friends with all of the creatures who use its limbs to sit for a while. That's just how giving they are.
These trees, these unconditionally loving life forces, are also showing us how we should live our lives. As I sat there staring up at my woodly friends, I let the tears stream down my face. For the first time I knew that I would be okay. I too was strong and could handle the wind. I too have been broken, beat and reshaped by others. Yet I have found the strength and know how to continue to keep growing and being me.
These trees taught me to not feel alone, since they happily sit still, awaiting things to come to them, and not the other way around. They are the perfect example of non-resistance and trust. All they need to do is to be present, open and allow the greatness to come their way. The rain will come to feed them. The birds will nest. The insects, creatures and bees will find their way to pollinate, nourish and keep them alive.
That is how nature works. And we do too. All we need to do is to let in the love. Let in the greatness that is knocking on our door. This perfect symbiotic relationship is there for all of us. I had only forgotten. That is until I looked up.
I now look at my trees as wisdom teachers and healers. Do I still hug trees? You bet ya! And now I sit and listen to its messages through its silent chatter. It isn't a coincidence that Buddha found enlightenment while under the Bodhi tree. So take the time to sit under these powerful guides. You never know what you will learn.