Trees and humans

We trees are changed by you, and you by us.

For millennia you have planted and cultivated and set aside special places for trees. You have designated places where no trees are to grow.

You have chosen and honored your favorite species, grubbed out those you dislike, created monocultures, plantations, tree farms, windbreaks, planted us in your neighborhoods for beauty stability, shade, shelter, food, fruit nuts, perhaps even companionship. You’ve introduced us into new habitats and climates.

Summer tree sunlight and shade

You have benefited from our giving natures, our need to grow in harmony with the earth and her creatures, our fruit and our nuts, the resilient building materials, the clean air and rich soil we bequeath you, fed by our decaying leaves, needles, fronds, the deep shade in summer, the home for birds and beneficial insects.

We populate your art, play roles in your legends and myths. We inspire your minds with our deep strong roots, our limbs reaching to heaven, our silver and green leaves soaking in sunlight, our friendly and loving energy, our deeply cut and protective bark.

Humans are changed by trees. You gather in our shade, go to lengths to plant and tend us, nurturing our growth with the patience of decades and generations, seeking our shelter, comforted by our beauty, choosing to live on tree lined streets and boulevards, take inspiration from our mighty old growth forests and find peace in our cool green woods. You seek out the graceful shelter of our interwoven branches and the comfort of our shade to cool your homes in summer.

Shade dappled tree

Trees give humans a model for how to live on this planet in body and spirit – rooted to the Earth, awareness centered in the body, branches reaching to sunlight and stars-

A bridge between heaven and Earth

Live in the present

Turn toward life by living in the present.

Do you hang onto “how things used to be”? The “better” life that was, the simpler times, the happy days. Do you long for what you think of as your “glory years”?

My glory days were those sweet summer days that went on forever, when I stood tall, towering over the sweet earth, my green and silver leaves shimmering in the breeze, shading and sheltering all beings who ventured past, accepting tree hugs from walkers and hikers…

GCW in summer

But now, I exist in a new reality. Those days are past and I am learning to let go of the life that was and embrace what is. I will never forget, but I must move on with grace.

GCW stump with painted friend, the Lorax

Do you long for days past when your parents and grandparents sang in the twilight as the fireflies came out? You have these and thousands of good memories stored like a library of movie disks in your mind.

You can pull up the pictures, the memories and remember with fondness your grandparents home, the petunias in the window box, the pot belly stove in winter, the fragrance of lilacs, the soft fur of your tiny kitten… you can bring up any picture or feeling that brings you joy and happiness.

But when remembering turns to longing for a time that is no more and living in the past, it will keep you from creating beautiful moments in the here and now. It will distract you from your present moments that are to be lived fully, savored, and treasured.

Turn toward the true power of your life – your intention and action in the present moment. You thrive when living fully absorbed in this moment and the next and the next. These often mundane moments are your true life!

Embrace your reality, the truth of your present moment. And live fully!

I Am One

Pearly dark storm clouds roll out of the west covering the sky, shading the sun. I am one with the moving cloud banks.

Prairie grasses, overcast sky

Trees and leafy bushes dip and dance in the afternoon breeze. I am one with the swaying branches.

Robin sings an insistent song. I am one with the singer and the song.

Bird shadow passes over the dappled green earth. I am one with the gliding darkness.

Tiny ants march in formation carrying heavy burdens. I am one with their purpose.

Amazing spider web

From my vantage point I see all. Like a spider in a web, I feel the vibrations of all that occurs.

No living being, no rock or stream, no shell on the beach, no fallen bird, no abandoned nest, no grain of sand escapes my notice.

I am one with all things.

GCW speaks

Dear ones, my spirit is stunned and disoriented by the sudden and violent loss of my life.

My spirit still hovers in this place, the beloved home I’ve know for so many decades. I have been forcibly removed from this precious life for unknown reasons. I was not ready for this.

GCW stump

One day I was soaking in sunlight through my green and silver leaves, drawing in life-giving water and earth energy through my roots. Then suddenly I was in pieces on the ground.

My growth rings are now visible to the sky.

I will have more to say when I get my bearings in this new yet familiar realm of the disembodied spirit.

In my new dimension of existence storms, lightning, heaving frosts, high winds, insects, gnawing rodents, men with chainsaws can never again harm damage or diminish me.

Grandmother Cottonwood

My earthly presence is gone, taken down in a morning’s work. My spirit endures.

My spirit belongs to this Earth.

Trees and Presence

Trees can teach presence. We stand tall in our light, rooted and strong, mighty, magnificent, stretching tall and wide.

We have no need to call attention to ourselves, brag or boast, to advertise or hire publicity. We simply own who we are, each according to the pattern of our ancestors encoded in our seeds.

Grandmother Cottonwood

We stand in the light of our true natures, quietly spreading our branches and fronds. If you notice us and pay attention, you will be amazed by our strong powerful presence, our upright nature, our interweaving branches and powerful anchoring roots.

Do not take us for granted! We are your allies, your friends, your silent companions. We endure, living our lives with dignity and grace. We shelter your world.

Dear ones, when you want to learn to be present in your body, present to the fullness of life, to fully inhabit yourself, the trees will show you how.

We are fully present here and now in this vast carnival of life on Earth.

Trees and Patience

As trees, we must practice patience. We begin humbly, as a tiny fragile looking seed finding a home in the soil where conditions for life and future growth exist- moisture, light air soil, warmth… the sense of home and belonging.

Silver Maple seeds

Here our first roots unroll toward earths’ magnetic pull. Our precious seed leaves burst out and open, stretching to the light. This is our home for life, this patch of soil and sun.

We are settled here. We are content and patient in the place chance has chosen for us. We live lives of endurance, growing slowly year by year adding height and girth, our bark expanding and thickening.

Hackberry bark

We practice patience as our new green branches turn woody in months gaining in strength and size over the years. We stand tall according to our nature, we soak in light, pull in nutrients and moisture from the soil, feeding ourselves, providing homes for birds and insects, wildlife, tiny mammals, mosses, lichen. We do this for decade upon decade.

For generations, for lifetimes we thrive and survive.

You might consider us to be miracles! From fragile seedlings to magnificent mature trees, we have a strong will to live and endure, to take up the space we need, to soak in our share of sunshine and pull in the sustenance we need from the Earth.

We patiently endure droughts, torrential rains, lightening, storms, extreme cold and wilting heat. Year after year we patiently adapt to the conditions of our environment. Sometimes these conditions cause stress and then we benefit from your care concern and attention.

Trees and storm clouds

We are the calm green backdrop to your lives, providers of cooling shade, beautifying your neighborhoods and landscapes, holding the soil, clearing the air, sheltering your farms towns and and cities, greening your cemeteries, ranging over mountains and ringing lakes.

We lovingly watch your children grow from infants to adults, we witness with affection the growth and development of your grandchildren and great grandchildren.

We can show you what patience is.

Stand in your truth

When others push and fuss and nag do you waiver from what you know to be true? Are you pulled off your true course and from your true work by the strong opinions and wishes of others?

Look to the trees to teach you how to stand in your truth.

Grandmother Cottonwood

We trees can show you deep rootedness. Roots keep us upright strong and flexible as we weather fierce storms and sudden downpours. When you are firm in your truth, you are anchored deeply in your true knowing no matter which way the wind blows.

Our tall trunks reach unerringly to the light with no doubt and no hesitation. You stand in your truth when you release doubt and claim your space and your right to be here and think for yourself.

We spread our limbs and branches, twigs, and buds to soak in the light that will nourish and feed us. In this way, we can show you that it is vital to partake in the blessings of this life, to nourish yourself with spirit. To claim your place in the sun.

Grandmother Cottonwood

Anchor deeply to your home, stand tall in your truth and live in the light.

When you need support and guidance for standing in your truth, look to the trees.

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!

A tree’s home

I am perfectly attuned to my chosen patch of Earth, my rooted place, my real estate, my home. I’ve gone all-in, set up camp, sent my roots deep, made a commitment.

I may be here longer than the longest human lifespan, so I must make my peace with my choice of growing site, make the best of it, learn to love it.

Grandmother Cottonwood, winter

To survive I must be flexible with the changes happening around my patch of earth and sky. If I am brittle and rigid, I might snap in two during a heavy windstorm, losing limbs right and left.

To survive, my roots must reach deep, for shallow roots would not hold my weight or counterbalance my majestic limbs, and I would topple in weather conditions that would undermine and weaken me.

I have made my stand, sent down roots, taken my place among the community of trees, knowing my interconnections with all the living beings of this place – those who rely on sunlight, water, earth, and air for their lives.

Grandmother Cottonwood, summer

Whatever happens, I stand strong and tall. I carry out my purpose; reach to the light and root to the Earth, my home.

More advice from a tree

Dear ones, send your roots deep and spread your branches wide. As a living being on this planet it is your birthright to take up your share of sunlight water and nutrients. No more, no less.

Hackberry tree

When you sacrifice the water, nutrients, resources, space, and sunlight that you require to thrive in order to help a weaker being, you only weaken and diminish yourself.

When you sacrifice your own well-being to try and help other healthy adults you are keeping yourself small and stunted. Your health and well being suffer, you have trouble accessing your inner power and your future suffers.

You will never see a tree leaning away from the light!

Sometimes they must lean away from the shade of larger trees, to find their own light. When the larger tree falls, the smaller can shoot up and take its place in the canopy. This is the way of trees.

Of course when you have small children or you are caring for someone who is ill, you will do what you can for them and help them. Yet, even then, you must maintain and take care of your own energy, take some time for yourself, breathe deeply, eat healthfully, get enough sleep and exercise. No one will do it for you!

Do not give up your own precious path, your well made plans, your true heartfelt work, your beloved dreams to try and help those who live in the shadows. You will both be weakened. Once abandoned, your creative and spirit guided life may fade from your consciousness and be forgotten.

To help others in healthy ways that honor your needs, you can show and reflect to them their own inner power, their own strength their own capabilities, their own capacity to plug into the light.

Grandmother Cottonwood

That is what balanced healthy loving is. Letting others find their way according to their purpose here on planet Earth.

My purpose as a tree: Root deeply and reach to the light.