From a minuscule seed to a towering giant many decades later, we trees have an enduring will to live to survive and thrive. We know how to persevere.
We develop strong roots and sturdy branches and thick bark to survive. In our tender days and weeks, we must survive hungry insects and gnawing mammals looking for a tender bite, a succulent treat, floods that would undercut our roots, drown on suffocate us, mowers and grazers, weeders, weed killers, cultivators.
We must live with the prospectof being overshadowed by larger plants, storms, wind that might uproot us or break our branches, lightening strikes that kill our friends and neighbors, the dreaded chainsaw; winter chills frost upheavals, summer heat that could fry an egg.
Yet we endure! Every spring we wake and choose life once again, sending out new shoots and leaves, increasing our roots, growing taller, wider, stretching to the light.
We persevere for what choice do we have? We choose life.
Sun sinks toward the western horizon. Light pierces through the woods creating long shadows, dramatically spotlighting a single leaf, tree trunk, branch or blossom.
Robin sings the familiar evening songs all robins have sung since this land was new.
Tender new maple leaves fan out, yellow green against the pale blue late afternoon sky. Ferns unroll their sweet green toothy leaves and stretch out in the cool shade.
Violets shelter close to the ground, lifting their purple faces among the heart shaped leaves. Bumble bees work every possible blossom while the light holds.
The plants, trees, shrubs, perennials, and what are often called weeds grow in a riot, each claiming its place, rooting down and reaching up to the light, each finding a home.
Squirrels chase and take giant leaps from tree to tree, passing time with a little craziness, a little play, a little high wire act with no net.
Vultures make their way home from all across the city, soaring, catching the last updrafts of the day. They can’t resist a few final figure eights, and possibly an aerial trick or two, formation flying with their next of kin before bedtime. They finally approach the roost trees and make a production of settling down with much flapping.
The waxing moon sails like a kite above the houses waiting for night.
Now only the tree tops catch the sunlight, burnishing them a golden green or bronze for a precious moment before all is bathed once again in shadow.
All creatures and rooted beings who make their living here take their essential place in the web of life.
Our Earth turns and the sun sinks below the horizon. Time to rest and settle. Time to watch the stars come out.
Tender green shoots reach toward the sun. This is life on our home, Planet Earth. The seasons turn, spring follows winter, the earth revolves, night follows day. All life depends on these ancient cycles and rhythms that we have learned to trust and depend on.
But now the web of life has been severely disrupted, threatening human life on our home planet and creating vast imbalances that magnify pre-existing imbalances and injustices. This disruption is throwing life on our blue and green planet out of tune, off true center, out of kilter, creating untold misery.
The intricate web of life has kept our planet healthy and in balance for millennia, providing conditions for life under the sun and stars. Now the damage to our web is showing up with widespread sickness and death, magnifying the imbalances that provide rude shelter and meager food for billions, a basic existence for many, abundant food, water, good health and riches for some; vast unimaginable wealth for a few.
To help reweave the web of life, begin to rethink your definition of wealth. Let your new thinking inspire new actions.
What is more precious than clear unpolluted fresh air or a deep breath that is easily exhaled? The feel of sun or rain on your skin, the beauty of thriving evergreen trees, blooming grasses and flowers, songbirds building their nests, the sight of a thin crescent moon through bare tree branches? Happy and healthy children? The tastes and textures of a simple meal to be savored? The smile of a loved one? A warm home in winter? What is true wealth?
Can you simplify and downsize your life and still feel wealthy?
Rethink your definition of what is necessary for you to enjoy daily life. Rethink your definition of true health. That includes health for all who people this Earth, and all life forms that grow and live their lives here on land, in sea and air.
The disruption in the web of life on Earth will help to focus your human attention on what is precious, what is true in your life, what changes you wish to make, what you can do that will help all living beings reweave our priceless web of life in which all things are one.
Rethink your true purpose here. Go beyond the surface. Dig deeper in your thinking. Tune in to your heart and spirit, and ask to know your role in the web of life and your role in reweaving the web.
We are all connected as one. We are meant to thrive together in our interconnections, to live in harmony and balance.
We all create and experience the best of life and health together, or we stand by and witness the diminishment of our lives, our families our potential, and our spirits.
We must act with compassion to reweave and restore true balance in our web of life.
Are you surrounded by an accumulation of too much stuff? Is your brain filled to bursting with too many thoughts, ideas, worries, fears, or emotional baggage?
It’s time to spring clean, time to release the old, the worn out, that which no longer floats your boat, makes you happy, gives you joy. That which holds you back in life.
Do you have the confidence to let go of objects that gather dust, furniture that over-stuffs your rooms, knick knacks and tchotchkes that came into your life for some reason years ago that you keep out of habit, things others chose for you, clothes that no longer reflect who you’ve become or who you are becoming?
Making room in your home will allow more flow in your life! Your space will breathe with more light and air and better energy movement.
Do you have the courage to face and heal the tired old habits of thought, the stale and possibly smelly emotions that keep you stuck, the fears that hold you back, the worries that muddy your precious days?
Clearing emotional baggage will help raise your frequency and assist in bringing clarity of purpose and more joy and creativity to your life.
De-clutter your mind and spirit, spring clean your soul and glow with clear energy, thoughts and actions that support who you’ve become, who you choose to be, who you wish to become.
You are the interior designer of your entire life! You get to choose what to think and feel, what to bring in to your physical presence, how you want spirit to express itself in your life.
Every design choice you make – what to keep, what to discard, what thoughts to entertain in your brain, what emotions to address – creates your life now!
Sunlight gradually returns to our beloved valley. Winter still reigns with ice snow and cold, but the promise of spring warmth and light and growth feed my dreams.
Soon our community of living beings will wake up. Sharp green shoots of prairie grasses will poke up through last years dead stems and leaves, attracted to the light and heat of the sun.
My tightly closed buds will once again swell and grow large, unrolling tender green leaves as they open to the strong spring light. My beaded seed pods will grow and mature in weeks, finally splitting open to release my seeded fluff on the world.
The vultures will return from their southern vacation to ride the warm updrafts above the evergreens, weaving their figure eights across our valley as they perform their cleanup duties and take their place in the web of life.
Our fur bearing friends will once again play in the treetops and build their nests or dig their burrows, mate and give birth, raise their young, and seek their daily bread.
Hibernating snakes toads and frogs will slowly emerge as the sun warms their hiding places. They’ll soak in the life giving energies of heat and light, warming their bodies in pools of sunlight.
Songbirds will soon return and bring color, music, movement, activity as they select their nesting place and build their beautifully constructed summer homes, lay eggs and raise their young.
The eternal cycle of life and the seasons will play out once again in this small valley we call home. We dream and plan for spring, the season of renewal and awakening.
We are ancient, wise in the ways of growing things that have existed on this planet for a hundred thousand centuries and more…
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.
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!
Have you gone outside on a midwinter day to lie on the cool crusty snow, letting the Earth take your weight and support you, the snow molding to your shape?
Have you gone out to lie down and soak in the cool fresh air, to absorb the Earth Energy that powers you? To know your oneness with all of life?
Let the nearby trees weave a lacy net of branches for your protection. Know the solid fabric of their roots below the surface, creating a strong foundation for your physical life, holding and anchoring the soil that gives us life.
Let the clean cool air refresh and revitalize your energy, lift your spirits, the blue sky inspire your dreams, expand your mind, enlarge your knowledge of what is possible.
Dream and rest under the sky, letting the blanket of snow cushion and cradle you.
Let yourself be one with this Earth and accept her precious winter offerings.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
As the light slowly returns to the sky, as the northern hemisphere of our Earth turns once again toward the light, the energy of all living things slowly shifts into a time of pause and rest as the light grows little by little each day.
Deep midwinter, a time to rest and draw inward, a time to tune into your body and your breath, time to relax and let go of your striving pushing and must do, must have mentality.
Your entire being is exquisitely tuned to the light, the seasons. Trust the wisdom and honor the needs of your body mind and spirit. Yes, you may be able to override your instincts and rhythms for awhile, but at what cost?
When your body requires rest, when your mind requires contemplation and when your heart needs to turn inward, you will have to let go of your expectations for “getting things done” that is so near and dear to the human heart.
Winter is a time to dream, a time to plan, a time to rest. When you empty your mind of whirling thoughts and big ideas and the need to push forward for a time, you make room for fresh new creative energy to enter your life.
Getting things done, enjoying increased energy, getting started on your pet projects will come in time, my dears. Have patience during the darker colder months. As the light grows, you will gain energy and stamina and your sense of purpose will return.
For now, allow yourself to close your eyes, cover yourself in comfort, breathe, sleep and dream. You rest knowing this time your body needs for renewal will not last forever.
Trust the rhythm of your days, the seasons of your life, the wisdom of your body. Trust the needs and longings of your spirit.
When you love and nurture yourself in this way, you truly know what it is to love yourself unconditionally.