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Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

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This poem is one of my personal favorites that I’ve written. I wrote it after having gone in and through a particularly difficult time. It continues to bring me solace today.

past the borders of happiness and unhappiness
a rim of fire oaks bid me on the blue horizon

smooth hand like leaves held me there
while the first hard rain fell

I kneeled and leaned into the heady fragrance
of an ancient wisdom revealed
beneath the old rough timber

it spoke of the delicate balance in being
at once firmly rooted while gently yielding
whenever the fall winds swept through

I heard of the necessity of winter’s annual arrival
for stillness is the silent cathedral of the earth

I learned that what drops away gives rise to rich black loam
so that nothing that is cherished ever perishes

listening intently now, the old knowing timber whispered
how it never seeks to contain what cuts deep

no, you give it up to the low slung clouds overhead
to be carried on the wings of the air

©heartsdeesire

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peaceful

For two years in the 1990s, Julia Butterfly Hill lived in a 1500 year old redwood tree that was earmarked to be cut down by a logging company.  The tree came to be affectionately named Luna.  Julia’s dedication saved Luna and many other trees surrounding it.  What’s most remarkable is what she had to say about the impetus behind her actions.  Her words appended below.*

In a world recently stung by the rawness of events, may this soothe a little.  There is so much compassion and inner beauty to behold in the human spirit.  May I choose that as my focal point today and everyday.

“So often activism is based on what we are against, what we don’t like, what we don’t want. And yet we manifest what we focus on. And so we are manifesting yet ever more of what we don’t want, what we don’t like, what we want to change. So for me, activism is about a spiritual practice as a way of life. And I realized I didn’t climb the tree because I was angry at the corporations and the government; I climbed the tree because when I fell in love with the redwoods, I fell in love with the world. So it is my feeling of ‘connection’ that drives me, instead of my anger and feelings of being disconnected.”

 

*Props to Darlene F. for sharing this quote with me.

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a windless night
in such silence
I hear a lone tree whisper:

I am the container
you pour yourself into
from cradle to coffin

the splintered steps
you daily climb

the way in
and the way out
a rusty hinged wooden door

I frame the perfect piece of art
that stirs and awakens you

I am the sacred journal by your bedside
the poignant pages of yesterday’s resolve

the day will come, it always does
and you’ll unfurl your life
inside my cardboard boxes

driving by that row of pines
one last time

more than a second chance
I’ll be your everything.

©heartsdeesire

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Our nearly three month old puppy, Nanuk, passed suddenly this weekend.  You see him below in a picture taken last week.

There are many wonderful pet loss poems out there but none seemed to contain the language for what my heart wants to say.  So I decided to re-post this poem I wrote a few years ago, to remind me of two things: nothing that is cherished ever truly perishes and Nanuk is in the heavens now, carried on the wings of the air.

past the borders of happiness and unhappiness
a rim of fire oaks bid me on the blue horizon 

smooth hand like leaves held me there
while the first hard rain fell

I kneeled and leaned into the heady fragrance
of an ancient wisdom revealed
beneath the old rough timber

it spoke of the delicate balance in being
at once firmly rooted while gently yielding
whenever the fall winds swept through

I heard of the necessity of winter’s annual arrival
for stillness is the silent cathedral of the earth

I learned that what drops away gives rise to rich black loam
so that nothing that is cherished ever perishes

listening intently now, the old knowing timber whispered
how it never seeks to contain what cuts deep

no, you give it up to the low slung clouds overhead
to be carried on the wings of the air

©heartsdeesire

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You may have heard out here in the Pacific Northwest we got whacked by a snow and ice storm last month, not something we are used to nor prepared for.  Many, many trees went down including that gorgeous one you see above in its finer days.

 

It’s a Catalpa and it used to stand in our neighborhood.  I admired it for a few years before I got up the courage to knock on my neighbor’s door and ask them if they knew what it was, and they did indeed.  It was as if I’d unlocked a treasure once I knew its name and then I loved it even more, as if a secret intimacy was between us, now that I knew who she was.

 

And now she’s gone because anybody with a chain saw and enough brain cells to operate said chain saw is just chopping away at trees.  I miss her so much!  I was, in Abraham’s words, really pinching myself off just thinking about her every time I drove by the empty void of her stump left behind.

 

And then I remembered, I could focus on the millions of trees that did survive.  And in my focusing I know that I’ll find the weeping sequoias that are still standing, the ancient, larger than life, monkey puzzle trees and so much more.  I could focus on one tree being gone or I could focus on millions more still here and so many more to come.

 

And wait, is this not how life is?  I could focus on the one thing that has my panties in a wad, the one thing that seems so out of reach and so key to my well being OR I could set my spotlight on the multitude of things that make my heart sing.  Knowing that — why would I choose to focus anywhere else?  Well, it’s got my attention and it’s sad and I don’t like it and that Catalpa tree deserves an ode of appreciation to it.  Yes, every day I passed by you my heart sang out to you.

 

And now you’re gone, but I’m here and so are all of you and so much beauty still abounds in this world.  I could weep every moment for the fullness and bounty of it all.

 

Home is where my well-being lies and ultimately the heart of me but if I’ve got my sights pointed on the unwanted, I am far from home.

 

And here’s the part I just can’t resist and mean it from the bottom of my heart:

Oh, Auntie Em, there IS no place like home.

 

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Revering the Trees

 

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.  ~Herman Hesse

My thanks to Amy Callan at Spirit Within Art for sharing this quote with me.

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It’s a good day to go God-ing today.  Seeing, being the God within you.  The Universe loves to knock itself out for you and equally adores you noticing the gifts it lays at your feet today.

One large pin oak tree has about 400,000 leaves waving at you today.  If you listen carefully, you can hear the lyrics of their music.

Come hither we shall show you the Universal wisdom contained in the art of a tree gracefully waving in the breeze. We move and bend with it.  Bring your face closer to my trunk and I will whisper pearls from the moon shared with me last night.

Come even closer now, open your ruby throat so that I may pour the pureness down it, awakening you to a thousand ripe and golden suns.  This is who you are.

Had you questioned who you are?  Know this: who you are is love inside.

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