Monday, October 3, 2016
About a year ago, I was watching the change of seasons and taking a notion from the trees up near a place called Rattlesnake Lodge, above the Blue Ridge Parkway. I learned a lot just thinking with those trees.
When the trees loose their leaves going in to winter, they do not fight with gravity. They dress up in their finest richly hued vestments and then scatter jewels all about. They make an offering of the most stunningly beautiful objects they can create, and then effortlessly let them go to the breeze, dancing their way to the ground with the gifts from all their neighbors where they’ll become a nourishing carpet to feed the roots of the neighborhood.
Just imagine that first letting go by the young tree. What did it think when it started losing its first foliage? And saw all its friends and family losing things? Did it think it would die? How many lettings go would it take to feel safe and confident going into winter’s season of harsh freezes and terrific winds - and threadbare? How many friends fell over in the ice storms? Maybe loss gets easier to bear over time. Some connections, though, seem so much more profound than others, and it seems they will not be bearable. And so I must pause and consider - how can i make the most beautiful offering to the universe at this juncture? What do I have to give to my surroundings in faith to the future nourishment of those around me?
Now I see a sign across the road that says: “God’s in control.” Two days ago I started the morning with a float and ended up lost, driving through hidden hills, towns called Luck and Trust, and up to the mountaintop of 360 degree views. Once I was clearly not on the road I intended to be on, not even going in the direction I intended to go in, I simply trusted the free falling and was led gently to a place I had been wanting to get to for a while but had no idea where it was. I had not consulted a map to see what direction I would have had to go in to get there. And now here I was, albeit ever farther from home than when I had set out toward my house. I had just lost a dear friend and was spending time in unexplored territory.
Now, I am just returned from a longer journey on which I lost another dear friend, quite unexpectedly and not in the best of circumstances. It is not for me to know all the hows and whys of this, yet I must decide how to walk forward along my own path, however invisible it may appear, and how to do this in a way that honors my friends who are gone, along with all the others, and the rest of the world I walk through. Perhaps if I were a tree it would be simpler - all my processes would be inherent and in concert with the movements of the celestial beings and in response to the terrestrial conditions. I wouldn’t have to think about where to go, what kind of work to do, how to interact with far away people and places. And yet, like the tree, fluids run by miraculous nature through my vessels and something animates me with the spark of life. In fact, if I think about it, that tree is as sentient as I am, even if it doesn’t communicate or travel in the ways that I do. I’ve had conversations with trees and learned profound truths. In spite of our disruption of their territories, trees communicate over great distances and have much to say. I remind myself often of how long they have been watching over me and I imagine how much they have seen, unable to look away. Our lives are inextricable from theirs. Were they not on the earth, we would not be breathing.
So as I prepare to embark on the next leg of my path ahead, taking me to new territories and peoples, I take another look at the trees about to drop their foliage. What do I really need to carry with me along the way? What process will support me where I am going? Best I polish all the gold I have and let it drop effortlessly away to dance in the currents about me, that I may be unencumbered to weather the next season. That I may carry in my heart of hearts those I hold dear, to walk with me; that I may learn to expand my heart space to learn with them how to travel the unseen worlds that are always right here with me.
And so perhaps today I can make this letting go a celebration by decorating and feeding the land around me with the treasures I have been holding onto. Perhaps I can celebrate my dear lost loved ones by polishing the gold they have left in my soul, as I am reminded by the golden falling leaves all around me.
After putting this post together, I came across this rich post on the Brainpickings site. Now I will dive deeper into the secret life of trees in following the Brainpickings thread.
I am grateful for the many gifts of synchronicity.
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