Wednesday, September 8, 2010

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."

I wonder if trees are the true heroes of the world. Mostly they are in the background of sagas, fables, and myths. Now and then they rise to prominence, such as in the movies Lord of the Rings and Prince Caspian. The trees move, fight, and are on the good guy team. I don’t think though that we’ll ever see them as McDonald Happy Meal toys or action figures under the Christmas Tree. Ah, see that, there is a celebrated tree whose reverence dates back thousands of years when we prayed to trees and they responded.

When I was a small child I went to the woods. I would sing to the birds and to trees and would be at rest for a while. These were prayers of gratitude and a heart’s call to be one with them. In the rush of my days, I believe I forget this except when I am purposively on a nature walk, meditating in nature, or have been part of a conservation team studying parrots in some towering tropical tree. Deep down though I believe that here has not been a forgetting, for my subconscious knows that trees, at least for one such as me born in the southeast of the U.S.A, hold up my world with hope and beauty. Let me leave these words and go hug a tree in the morning light.

What do you think/feel when you hug a tree?


  1. When I hug a tree I feel at one with the source of life. Trees are my favorite spiritual place. They protect, give warmth, give shade, produce fruit, flower in wonderful beauty, change and survive the seasons. They take their time to age and gracefully grow. They teach us to bend with the wind and grow towards warm illumination. I like to play with trees by taking broken limbs and drumming a beat on their trunks while the leaves rustle to my forest melody.

    Here's another poem about trees. This one is by Harry Behn:

    Trees are the kindest things I know,
    They do no harm, they simply grow.

    And spread a shade for sleepy cows,
    And gather birds among their boughs.

    They give us fruit in leaves above,
    And wood to make our homes of.

    And leaves to burn on Hallowe'en,
    And in the Spring new buds of green.

    They are the first when day's begun
    To touch the beams of morning sun.

    They are the last to hold the light
    When evening changes into night.

    And when a moon floats on the sky
    They hum a drowsy lullaby

    Of sleepy children long ago...
    Trees are the kindest things I know.

  2. When I hug a tree.

    Sometimes I feel a connectedness, a sense of solidity. And if I stay awhile. If I pause long enough, a sense of direction. An uplifting, growth, a sense of hope, courage and also vitality that makes my heart sing.

    On other times, it is quite the opposite and a sense of deep sadness overcomes me. It's like it is being shared or shown to my heart. There can be a strong pull down, a river easing into the roots below. At other times sense of quieting, stopping and almost coming to a stop. I wonder if that is the spirit or soul leaving or perhaps a reflection on our actions as a "superior" race. We have cousins you know the beautiful serene orangutans or Borneo and such. They live in constant communion with the trees. They find food, support, a way to travel, fun and solitude without careers, technology gadgets and so on. They havent been conned out of the trust in the goodness of nature. There is a deep sense of knowing and accepting. I feel at peace and very much forgiven for the errors of my ways.

    They are the eternal witnesses, they silently see. Some have lived 500-600 years. They have seen us when we tried to coax a living under kings and queens. They have seen us through world wars, atomic bombs, births deaths many times over. They have seen the industrial age come and go, the information age come and....

    They know our scars better than we do.
    And...always they turn the other cheek.

    If I lie back on a path in a forest as I like to do any time but if you do so by the light of the moon I like to see their arms embrace each other. Some almost caressing ever so lightly some growing through each other as in a deep long soulful embrace. Some shun others growing away their limbs distinctly bending so as not to even go near the other and the families where there is this beautiful holding as if herding children closely between mum and dad.

    I have the most beautiful times in the forests where the calm prevails even in strong winds. I hear the fight go on above. The bending and heaving and always protecting me. I just hear a hush down below. A light breeze.

    Thank you trees and all the beings.

    Much peace