The Plant Spirits Speak

We are ancient, wise in the ways of growing things that have existed on this planet for a hundred thousand centuries and more…

Summer Hosta Blooms

We create and hold sacred space among our copses and fields, our tall grass and short grass prairies, our city parks and farmsteads, our old growth forests and newly planted windbreaks, our shady riverbanks, our dry desert landscapes, our steep mountain slopes, our modest backyard gardens.

Each community of varied growth adapted to the climate, the realities of the place – each with its own wisdom, it’s own web of life, all plant citizens interweaving and complementing each other, communicating, living in harmony and balance.

We live and breathe and grow in what humans might erroneously call silence. We are not silent! It is just that your ears cannot hear our vibrations. Your eyes cannot see our energy. Your logical minds do not yet comprehend our plant wisdom. Your ears cannot hear or understand our communications.

But we speak to you eloquently in a language you can understand – with our winter sleep, our spring renewal, summer growth, and autumn release.

Golden cottonwood leaf and bark

We speak of the alchemy of light, the stability and necessity of roots, the miracle contained in a tiny seed, the ease of growth and expansion, of choosing a place to call home and settling in for the long haul. We speak of reaching to the sun. We speak of interdependent communities, of varied members living together in harmony. We speak of patience and acceptance. We speak of weathering the storm and enduring.

Can you hear us?

We lift our branches and leaves to the sun, rooted to Mother Earth.

A word to humans: Dear ones, for our continuing health and well-being and the well-being of this entire planet and all her inhabitants, we need soil and air and water free of artificial enhancements, pollutants and additives that act counter to our long term needs and create imbalances in the web of life. Please act to make this so within your circle of influence!

Listen to the Earth

Put your ear to the ground. What do you hear? In what language does our Earth speak to you?

Can you hear the hundreds of thousands of earthworms turning and fertilizing the soil, carrying out their singular and necessary purpose in the web of life?

Can you hear the billions of roots of grasses, trees, wild plants and “weeds” food plants and flowers of all descriptions, reaching deep, stretching down, absorbing water and nutrients?

Deep rooted prairie grasses

Can you hear the fur bearing creatures in their dark and cool burrows, the snakes gliding almost silently along the Earth through the tall grass? Can you hear the nearby stream flowing quietly?

Can you hear the millions of ants creating their underground cities, marching in unison, intent on their building project, living their lives, feeding their families?

Can you hear the underground rivers, streams and aquifers, the water fresh and cool, lapping in dark rock shelters? Can you hear the slow dripping and dropping of lime infused water from ancient stalactites in secret caves so far beneath the surface of the Earth?

Can you hear the deep hum and vibrations of the bedrock, the foundation of ancient stones that supports our home?

Stone cairn

Can you hear the humming, the sound of creation as your ear tunes into the subtler frequencies of the Earth’s spinning, her movement in space?

Can you hear the deep and awesome harmony of creation? All is one great symphony of sound and vibration.

The earth speaks to us in her language of stone, metal, water, fire, air, soil, seasons, night and day, and abundant life of all descriptions.

Underlying all on our Earth is the sound of creation, the great hum.

The Joy of Being

Even in this dark and frozen time, I am alive and thriving. I am fully aware in the way of trees. My spirit never sleeps.

Grandmother Cottonwood

Here in my beloved home my roots reach deep into the soil. I do not question my existence. I do not worry. I do not fear. I simply am.

I do what trees everywhere do. I root to the earth and grow effortlessly toward the light. I respond to the seasons, sending out seeds in spring, bursting with growth in summer, releasing my leaves in fall, sleeping in the winter.

I am expansive. I am so much more than the magnificent tree you see before you. I feel what you humans would call love for this life.

This love is me. It is my energy, it is who I am. It may be invisible, but those who have the sensitivity, the ability to feel beyond the five senses will know it.

Life here on this patch of earth under the dome of the eternal sky, day and night, sun, moon, planets, and stars brings me what you humans might call joy.

Perhaps joy is my true purpose here…

…the joy of being, the joy of living, of expanding toward the light, the joy of knowing the precious gift of life!

Message from a tree

Stop awhile on your hike, your walk to work or school, lean against my trunk, absorb my loving energy. I have much to give.

I share my strength, my shade, my beauty with you. You can trust my solidity. My roots anchor me securely. I will not wobble or fall, back away or collapse as you lean your full weight against me. I am here for you, a sure presence.

Grandmother Cottonwood

I share my loving energy with you. What you might call my love is all encompassing. It does not question or expect or judge, it simply radiates like joy from the core of my being, embracing and enriching and interweaving with the entire web of life.

I share my tree wisdom with you. I have weathered many storms, many cold winters, droughts, floods, beating summer suns, loss of limbs, nearby construction projects that have felled many of my companion trees, yet I endure and thrive. I continue to send my roots into the earth for nourishment and reach my branches to the light life-giving sunlight.

Hackberry bark

Those of you who pay attention with your heart and your 5 senses can learn from the trees. You might learn patience in the face of change. You might learn endurance in all seasons, all weather conditions, You might discover a new way to think about unconditional love.

You might learn that to be strong and stable you must develop deep roots and connect with Earth energy. You might learn how to gracefully claim and take up the space that is yours and spread your branches to the light, because it is your birthright.

You can learn much from a tree. Trust, root deep, love, endure.

Three worlds

I, Grandmother Cottonwood, am a magnificent tree. I live in three worlds.

My roots reach deeply into the lower world, pulled by gravity , the magnetic pull of Earth’s core. My roots draw in nourishment and water and all earth elements needed to feed me.

This is the zone of magic, of power, of earthy energies and animal spirits, of ancient knowledge, of survival on this planet. This is the region of Earth wisdom that will feed your souls.

The wisdom of the lower world has been accumulated over millennia from the time our Earth was a swirling mass of gasses, even before life took hold.

All myths, legends, all ancient wisdom resides here. You can tap into their power and richness. They will feed and fuel your growth. As my roots feed me.

I am rooted to the Earth

GCW root zone

My magnificent trunk and large limbs reside in the middle world, the spiritual aspect of the created world. Here I weather storms, bake under a hot summer sun, rest in winter, scatter my seeds in spring. Here I age and witness tired old limbs fall to the earth and others thrive and come into leaf.

I witness my bark growing thicker and tougher each year. I interweave branches and roots with the sycamores, the hack-berries, the thorny locusts, the grasses, the nearby cottonwoods.

Here I interact with the energy, the spirits of those who walk by or who lean against me, those who give me tree hugs.

Our spirits are all one here. All living beings are connected through our invisible energies. Our spirits interweave and overlap whether we know it or not. We communicate and understand each other. Human, plant, animal, insect, Earth.

As a living being on planet Earth, my awareness is centered in my physical reality in this place and time

I am centered in my body.

Grandmother Cottonwood

My smaller branches and tiny twigs, my growing tips and buds, my fine crown of leaves reside in the upper world. This is a place of expansion, of light, of growth, a place of miracles of divine wisdom and divine energies. This is the realm of spirit, of your higher self.

Here the sunlight touches my leaves fueling their growth as they absorb the life giving light. My crown brings the amazing energies of the divine down from the heavens into my body to keep life alive. I reach to the sun, my source of power. I am whole and complete

I am aligned with divine light.

Grandmother Cottonwood in fall

I am rooted to the Earth. I am centered in my body. I am aligned with divine light.

The river speaks

I am ceaseless and timeless. I flowed past the camps of your ancestors in ancient times, and I flow now under the concrete and steel bridges of your streets and highways, between fields of corn and beans. I flow past the towns and factories through forests and wetlands.

Life flows endlessly here- always the same, always new and fresh.

I may change course over time, undercut and topple the tallest trees, cut through solid stone, shape and carve the landscape.

I carry much that you choose to discard, your pollution and garbage. It becomes part of me. Is this what you want?

I rise and flood in spring, after the long winter freeze, swelling and spreading expanding beyond my banks. I pick up speed and power.

Do not argue with a flooded river!

My ripples respond to the most delicate vibrations of wind and weather and light and water currents, to rumblings in the earth, the movements of the stars.

The sun reflects and creates sparkles and dancing bands of light in my depths. You might sit near me and meditate on my hypnotizing moving light and water show. Find peace here.

Sunlit ripples on shallow water

I provide a home for the water dwellers, the fish of all descriptions, crustaceans, insects, the tadpoles and frogs, turtles, food for the fur-bearers and birds, a place of thirst quenching for all.

I grind and polish rough stones to smooth. I grind and polish smooth stones to sand. I compress sand into sandstone. Do not ask me how or why. It is in my nature to do so.

I run under the open sky at night, only the stars and moon lighting me in the uninhabited places. I move under the earth in complete darkness, carving the structure of this planet into caves of great complexity and beauty.

I am the river of life that flows through your ancient memory into your present and on toward the future.

It is my purpose to collect the waters of the earth and channel them effortlessly, to cleanse and shape the earth, to reach oneness with the great waters at the end of my journey… which is only the beginning.

Message from the stones

Dear ones, you may think we stones have no hearing, no voice, no awareness, but there, you would be wrong.

Our awareness exists at much lower and heavier vibrations of energy than yours. Our energy is dense and compact. Our energy particles interlock and overlap in ways that create great mass and weight.

Cairn – various stones

Like all things, we have what you call a spirit, an awareness you might say.

Time as you know it is meaningless to us. Our life cycle from creation to the point of breaking up and dissolving and then forming once again into solid stone is measured in hundreds of thousands of your years, perhaps even longer. Millions of years.

We are in this for the long haul! If you want to learn patience, study the stones.

We have seen Earth’s history unfolding, we have felt the vibrations of war, of peace, of major human migration, climate changes, and times of peace and plenty.

We are the ancient ones. If you wish to communicate with us, tune into our frequency. We can offer you our wisdom.

We are eternal, we support your world, your lives, and all life on this planet with our strong foundation. We provide the bedrock on which all life depends.

We are happy to do so. We take our job seriously!

GCW speaks, continued

These words of Grandmother Cottonwood’s are continued from the previous post…

This Earth, this home is so very dear to me… Words cannot capture all I know, all I feel…

I know, too the flow of the stream, the flood in spring, the ice in winter, breaking and grinding during a thaw… I know the rocks and sandbars of the creek, the elegant s curves of it’s southward course, the downed trees, uprooted by the current, changing the flow of the water .

I am familiar with the creatures of the water, the tiny silver fishes, the earth hugging turtles, the insects that skate and float…those that come to drink.

Spider web

I know the worms of the soil, the fungus that consumes rot, the spiders patiently weaving their silver webs, the bright butterflies and nodding wildflowers full of nectar, the sharp trilling call of the red winged blackbird in early spring.

My world is made beautiful by the deep shade of my companion trees in summer, the bark of the sycamore, dark and rough near the roots, creamy white and peeling near the crown…I know the cushiony moss, growing in the cool damp places, a green to remember.

GCW and sycamore

From my home, I feel and know the heartbeat of the city, the town, the homes and all those creatures inhabiting this place. I feel the rushing and impatience of some, the peace and contentment of others.

I experience the students who hurry past me on their way to school, their thoughts and attention elsewhere, forgetting the lesson that life is lived in the moment, one breath at a time; that hugging a tree will help them feel better.

Come to school with GCW and you will learn an age-old yet always fresh curriculum – Observe without judgment. Breathe. Notice what you are feeling. Notice what happens in your body.

Be present to what you see, hear, taste, touch feel, smell – be present and allow yourself to know what you know, to be who you are. Become friends with your own self. Listen to your heart – the dreams of your heart.

Now, put the shiny blinking thing down, for if you let it, it will block out everything but itself. Turn it off for a little while and just be.

Know that you too are a part of this magnificent tapestry! Above all, hug a tree.

Become water – a shamanic journey

Can you imagine with your heart and mind and all your senses, your body dissolving and becoming one with a stream of water? First, imagine yourself there in the stream, floating. Feel the silky water supporting your body as you float.

Now breathe and relax any tension in your head and face, your neck, shoulders, trunk, arms and hands, back, buttocks, legs, feet and toes.

Feel your physical reality gently dissolve and merge with the stream of water, allowing more and more space between your cells, letting any pain or anxiety drain away, releasing all worry, all fear, just letting yourself be. Don’t worry about breathing as water, it will come naturally.

Sunlight on shallow water

Can you imagine your cells gently becoming water droplets and moving easily with the flow of the current? Can you imagine yourself growing transparent? How does it feel, smell, look and sound like?

Nothing is more relaxed! You are suspended in the water, one with the water. You are the water!

There is nothing you have to do, nowhere to be, nothing to grasp, clutch, hold on to or resist. There is no need to hold yourself up, to think or worry or fight against. You float free, allowing the current to carry you.

Can you feel yourself flow easily around boulders, rushing where the stream bed is steep, falling over stone ledges, standing still in deep pools? Can you feel the warm sunlight striking the water and see it bending into the vibrant colors of the rainbow?

Now your stream merges with a larger river. Enjoy the beautiful landscape as you drift past; the trees, the wide river valley, as you flow smoothly, one with the life-giving water.

Now after many hundreds of miles, you enter a huge estuary, full of birds and wildlife of all descriptions, drawn to the life-giving waters. The river widens out and becomes salty as you enter the ocean surf and move out beyond the crashing waves into open water. Finally, you are home, where all water joins to become one. Here you can expand even more, suspended. One with all that is.

Enjoy the sensation of oneness with the water as long as you want to. Allow the water to clear and heal you. Allow it to sustain and support you. Let yourself be.

When you’re ready to call back your physical being and find your way back to solid earth, let your feet touch the floor, tap your cheekbones and chest, breathe.

Revisit this water journey whenever you want to relax and know your oneness with all that is.

Joy!

I want you to know what you might call the joy, expansion and contentment I feel rooted to my home and reaching for the sun, moon and stars.

It is my life’s work to grow to full mature height, to put out new leaves and bead-like fruits containing numberless seeds each spring, to be fully present in my physical being, to inhabit my allotment of earth and sky, to pull in nourishment from soil and sunlight, rain and air. 

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GCW in summer

This life is all I know, the seasons changing, the weather moving across my valley, wind storms and lightning, torrential rain, or mist, heat and cloudless summer days.

My leaves, shimmering in the breeze, turning golden as the sun dips toward the south, each one released in its time, thousands of them forming a brown carpet at my roots, enriching the soil that feeds me.

Now the late summer slides moment by moment into  fall…  fall into winter… Soon, I will know the deep rest, renewal, and quiet of winter. I welcome this time of release…

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GCW in fall

Yes, I have lost branches, they’ve rotted, fallen away and thumped heavily into the soft earth at my roots… I let them go without regret… My crown is thinner now, down to the essence of what is needed for life.  No more, no less.

Until I am ready to release life itself, I shall continue stand here with patience, knowing and welcoming every creature that shelters with me; knowing those that fly above and burrow below, those 6 legged crawlers  and spinners that live in my bark, the scaly ones that slide silently through the underbrush, the fur bearers that visit, the winged ones large and small that nest in my branches or perch momentarily on my crown day and night. I know their songs, their colors, their habits, I know the grip of their tiny claws, the vibration of the beat of their wings.

I know intimately those rooted ones in our community – the grasses, thistles, oak, locust, sycamore, the sunflowers, goldenrod, the cone-flower, the milkweed the Queen Anne’s Lace… there are too many to name… our roots, stems, and branches interweave, our energies overlap – we are a living neighborhood.  We know and communicate with each other. We thrive together!

This life is so precious to me.  It brings me joy!  Can you feel it too?