By Freya Secrest
There is a wonderful mature maple tree in my new front yard. I spent some time under it today as I started to prepare the soil around it for a new shade garden. I was touched by a quiet rustle. I paused in my work and accepted the invitation, resting for a moment in the confluence of land, water, sky and spirit that the tree holds within its vital presence. There was a nurturing feel under its branches, different than out in the rest of the yard. After a moment I carried on with my work refreshed.
Our front yard is level with a road carrying cars up and down our peninsula neighborhood. Runners and cyclers go by quietly but frequently. One side of our lot is in the sun, the other overshadowed by this maple. The path to the house goes between the sun and shade and I have been working to bring a little color to both areas. But in this moment of pause I felt the life of the tree itself, a presence with a role and purpose that took root long before it became an element in any human landscape design.
My husband made a comment once as we walked through a neighborhood in Oak Park, Michigan. Struck by all the large oak trees in the neighborhood he observed, “We aren’t walking through a neighborhood of houses planted with trees, we are walking through a forest of oak trees with houses added.” Under my maple that morning I saw my yard from a new tree perspective with the maple in front and a hillside of oak, maple, fir and cedar behind. The continuity of their work and the history of their relationship with land and water and sunshine stood out in vivid clarity. Dorothy Maclean’s deva messages from the large trees came to mind. Let me share two that give voice to their perspective.
“We trees, rooted guardians of the surface, converters of the higher forces to Earth through to the ground, have a special gift for you in this day and age of speed and drive and busyness. We are calm strength, endurance, praise, fine attunement, all of which are greatly needed in the world.” —Scot’s Pine
“We exult in what we are, for so it is. We rejoice in any consciousness that appreciates what we are, that appreciates the fineness, precision and delicacy, the power and patience which culminates in a birch tree. We stand in our positions here, and as we stand we spread what we have to contribute for all to see. We are no accident; we are part of the whole. Each plant species is individual yet part of the whole. Here we are, above unrest, forever one with what we should be. We greet you and trust you will often greet us.” —Birch Tree
There is always time for appreciation, a fact I sometimes need to be reminded of in the midst of the busyness of life. I am grateful for the maple’s gifts of strength and endurance and glad for its invitation to join into nature’s song of praise and celebration for the wonders of life. It is an immediate way for me to contribute something to the community of the planet, a respectful way to honor the history of this piece of land and a joyful way to get to know more of the inhabitants of my new neighborhood.
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