(Photos by Microsoft Clipart) ~~ How many of you have walked along a path in the park or through the woods and felt the energy of nature. The aliveness of life is fresh and soothing as you hear the birds singing and smell the earth as you put one foot in front of the other. And then...there are the trees standing tall with light streaming down through their branches.
I love trees no matter what size, no matter what type. It always gives me a twinge whenever I hear someone having to clear their land and cut down trees. A part of me aches for the trees. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they are rooted and cannot run for their lives.
I read this beautiful little book by Kent Nerburn called, Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life. In it he talks about making friends with trees no matter where he lives. He finds we have so much in common with them. Here is what he says,
“They have their feet on the ground, their heads in the sky. They respond to the movement of the wind, the changes of the season. They have moods, aridities, joys. They like company.
In their scale they are perhaps our most intimate companions; their lives are understandable in years, not aeons; their size in feet, not miles. We can watch them grow, give forth their fruit, send forth their young. We can touch them without feeling alien, or as if we are violating their wildness. We sense their private courage.”
I’m a tree hugger. I remember one time, when I was working as a loan officer for mortgages, I would walk around my neighborhood getting to know my neighbors and leaving a door hanger with a little gift and postcard soliciting my services. I called it my walk-abouts. Because we live in the mountains you don’t see all the homes tucked away down a lonesome lane or up a long, wooded driveway passing by in a car as you do when you’re on foot.
So, I picked this asphalt driveway. It looked nice with an open gate and a stone entryway. I started walking, and then hiked as this driveway turned into a road and took many twists and turns taking me up higher through trees and rock outcroppings. I had walked in almost a mile when the road opened up to valleys all around and more trees and I could see below to the highway. It was beautiful but I was wondering where this road was leading me.
As I continued walking, I came upon this strangely shaped tree just off the asphalt. It almost looked like an adult pine tree shaped similar to a bonsai and, as I approached, it seemed to call to me. I stood and admired it and it communed with me without words. I put my arms around it and hugged it and felt its strength and “private courage” as Kent Nerburn said in the passage above.
I continued on and at the end the road turned into a circle drive with a beautiful log home rising up like The Ponderosa with its separate mother-in-law home to the side and an outdoor, colored rubber basketball court against the huge outcroppings. I thought I’d come upon a mansion. No one was home and their Rottweiler guard dog was a little suspicious of me.
I left my door hanger while keeping an eye on their dog and made my way back down the road happy with my adventure and over taken with the majestic beauty before my eyes. I greeted the uniquely shaped tree in passing on my way down and thanked it for the energy it shared with me that day.
I’d often contemplated what they might have thought, if they had security cameras, seeing this "crazy" lady walking up their road, hugging a tree, talking to their dog and leaving a door hanger. Not long after that I no longer worked in the mortgage industry and they closed their gates and I honored that. What a shame that door closed.
At least I know of a beautiful home not far from mine that is embraced with a curiously wonderful tree that I might have an occasion to see again on some other opportunity, perhaps on another adventure.
If you get a chance – hug a tree. You might be surprised by their warmth and energy and willingness to commune and share secrets – captured by their private courage.