Tell me, did you ever have a conversation with a tree?
Trees are amongst my favourite beings on earth.
They teach us about stillness, resilience, and the most subtle and invisible layers of reciprocity, symbiosis and even kinship. Throughout the year, they are a beautiful expression of the cycle of life, shedding the old in autumn and coming to life again in spring. The evergreens teach us about immortality, endurance and strength in the coldness of winter. The trees that grow on the most damaged soils show us that the earth is fertile and is always able to recover, even if we humans ruin it all.
This kind of symbolic language and meaning can be understood through observation. But there is a deeper layer of contact and understanding.
This is something I have discovered when my sensitivity to feel the subtle energies all around me, was completely unmanageable. All the people and movements and encounters within the city were too much to process for my brain, and therefore I found sanctuary with the trees.
All of a sudden I noticed something I had never been aware of before: that the trees (and the earth) have a pulse. A heartbeat.
And that I could sense their energetic field and the energy exchange between myself and the trees.
This discovery stunned me and sang to my soul and filled my mind with imagination. Who would have known, the trees that were always there for my whole life, that I had visited and spoken to so often, they had a heartbeat!
It was the start of a new journey. I became strongly aware that many trees can outlive us and become hundreds or thousands of years old – if we humans only let them, at least! – and are the safe keepers of the wisdom of many ages and many generations. They saw the world around them change. They saw the people change. And whenever we stumble and fall, they are there to remind us of who we are and where we come from.
A special example close to my home is a Giant Sequoia of (only) 130 years old. It has been planted on an estate that is now a public park, by a family that was of big importance for the development and growth of my city. They brought the seeds from California and the tree is one of the biggest of its kind in my country.
Sequoias though can become 3000 years old, so in that sense, this one is still a little baby! Yet we should understand that this tree is the kin of the Californian giants and carries the same genes, just like the seeds of this tree carry the full potentiality to become a 3000-year-old giant over time.
These giant trees hold the wisdom of the ages and the history of humankind. They confront ourselves with our past and future, knowing we are only a breath in the lifetime of a Sequoia Tree. This specific giant is a friendly one, often surrounded by kids and people. She is often touched and very loved by many.
And then humankind had to interfere. Humans always have to interfere. Humans with their short lives and short-sighted management strategies. They all want to change something, to build something, to be remembered by something so that they live on after they die. Some years ago her lower branches, which allowed for climbing and direct contact, were taken away. Last year, someone decided to give this beautiful sequoia a wooden platform all around its trunk. Probably with the best intentions, but it is an unnecessary and probably expensive change that only brings us only further away from this beautiful tree. The children cannot connect with the ground anymore when they visit her. And this saddens her so much. She has so much to give and so much to offer, and over time it became harder and harder for her to find people who are able to hear her call. And now people have taken away the possibility to connect with the earth around her trunk in a moment of short-sighted management.
It is possibly with the best intent. But it is a step away from nature. A barrier of air between the people and the tree.
I have promised this Sequoia that I would tell her story, and that day, there was a seed planted in my mind that we should make sure that this tree will have offspring. To make sure that her genes and her wisdom live on, even when some short-sighted cold-hearted manager would ever decide to cut her down. She gifted me three cones to do so.
We live in a time where it is profitable to take down old trees in order to receive subsidies to plant new ones. Please, plant a tree and stand against the stupidity and shortsightedness of our age.
If you would like to build your own relationships with trees in your area, you might like to read “How to make friends with the trees”.