Friday, July 3, 2009

The Trees

I have been thinking a lot about the trees lately. I have always been in love with the trees. When I was a child I had the great fortune of living in a neighborhood with an empty lot across the street that took up the entire block. It was the only one around and it remained untouched until way after I left home at the age of nineteen. There were two particular trees that were just made for climbing and as I was very adventurous I would climb them both regularly. One had wooden planks nailed into the sides by the older boys and a wooden seat when you made it to the top. It was an easy climb for me and I loved it up there sitting among the branches.

The other tree was way up at the other end of the street and had no steps or wooden seat but it always seemed to call out to me "climb me"! It was a rather scary climb and a real challenge. I had been known to get stuck up there several times and thank goodness a neighbor noticed me and helped me down while warning me never to try that again, but of course I did. I can still remember so vividly the feeling of those trees and the many others that made up my magical woods. I knew every inch of those woods and spent hours and hours imagining and daydreaming among those beautiful trees.

When I was raising my children the urge to move to the mountains and the woods was so strong that we did just that. We were surrounded by the tallest most magnificent trees and the pines with their sweeping majestic branches were so incredibly beautiful. Our house was on the side of a mountain and the woods were all around us. We felt this is where we belonged, and we did for ten wonderful years until the call to move once again came and we began yet another new adventure.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to wind up in a place that was such a far cry from everything I ever knew, the mountains, the trees, the cold. A tropical climate? Not me, I don't like flat land, broiling heat, bugs and may I say again, broiling heat! However this was to be and when we found our Florida home over ten years ago one of the most wonderful things about it was the gigantic magnificent old oak in the yard. We fell madly in love with her. Little did I know she would turn out to be our guardian, our teacher and above all, our family.

It was just the other day that I truly understood all she had come to teach us. From the beginning we were told that she was very old and should come down. We wouldn't hear of it. How many days and nights we spent looking at her and sitting beneath her and yes, talking to her. She was as much a part of us as any member of our family. We loved her so. The first time a huge part of her came down in a storm we were devastated. Oh she would not look the same! But we cleaned up her branches and prayed that she would remain strong and stay with us. As this was happening with our Beloved One there were parts of our lives that were falling away as well. The storms continued and sometimes all would be well but sometimes she was not strong enough and again we would witness more of the falling away.

We felt for many reasons we would move from our home and we felt that this was surely a sign from her that we too were done in this place. We were sure of it. The day finally came when so much of her fell that the rest of her had to be taken down for everyone's safety. It felt like a death and I cried and cried. The yard was a devastation. All that was left of her was her huge trunk. Her glorious branches gone! That was this past winter and everything looked so barren and harsh and brutal and our lives seemed to be that way too. I didn't go out in the yard much, we didn't know where to even begin to start to pull it all back together and it was heartbreaking to look upon the place she once stood, proud and strong and mighty.

Then spring came and we did what we always do, plant a little garden and fill our pots with flowers. And then the rains came back and something magical happened. Plants and ivy grew over her big beautiful trunk and plants and trees grew up everywhere because now they were getting more sun. Suddenly everything was beautiful. My husband turned to me the other day and said "I don't think the yard has ever looked so beautiful." I looked out the window and sighed and I realized in that moment the metaphor, the falling away, the trying so hard to hold on to what is done and the fear of how things will be. How will you go on without something you counted on, something you thought would be so hard to be without? How will you weather the storm and the change?

Well we are still here and we still feel in many ways that our branches continue to fall and I can not say that at times I do not feel frightened. But I am awake and I have been loved by an old and wise Standing One and she has taught me so much. For she has shown that the falling away is sometimes what has to be, to make way for the sun that births new life so that all will be made anew. And no it will never ever be the same but there is beauty found even in this. And every day I feel so thankful and so grateful that one such as she came into my life and held the space for all the trees I have ever loved and missed. She opened my heart and nurtured me and taught me and stood for everything that is loving and right and true. Now when I look upon her mighty trunk I do not feel sadness and sorrow. I just feel her heart beating in resonance with mine, I feel love and wisdom and truth… I look up at the sky where her branches once were and I see her and feel her there...and I bow before her with love and gratitude and I whisper to her softly...thank you.

(picture is of me communing with another Beloved Standing One and a divine being above me)