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The Gift of Trees

Trees Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

All week, the pristine quiet of my new foothill home has been disrupted by the roar of chainsaws, the hacking of axes, the deep bass drone of earth movers and trucks and the all too distinct crack and thud of a tree going down.

IMG_5989 copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved IMG_5987 IMG_6029copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

I would estimate more than 50 trees have come down so far. That first day, I could feel the shock of the trees, the earth, the birds. I reassured the trees on my property that the chainsaws would not be coming for them. I spent the day feeling completely rattled. A hawk flew overhead screeching as one tree was being cut. Was its nest high up there in the branches? I saw the same hawk fly down to the ground from a low limb the next day. Were there young ones to feed that now found their home on the ground? I don’t know. I only wonder.

My heart hurt and I cried. I also heard an internal voice chastise me saying “Where do you think the lumber for this house and this deck came from?” I also found myself curious about the process of cutting trees and furious about the destruction of the landscape to pull the logs out.

As I felt into all of my reactions,  I came to understand (among many other insights) that what bothers me most is (and this is an assumption) that they have not been honored. They were not taken down in a sacred manner. No one offered their prayer or blessing or gratitude.

As I said, that is an assumption. So, it all comes back to me. Have I offered my prayer, blessing or gratitude?  I spent that first evening in my sacred space doing just that. It created peace in my spirit and gave my heart a bit of rest. I am reminded to continue the practice of walking in the Beauty Way, honoring all of life. It’s so easy to forget.

The felling continues. As I write, I hear the drone of the tree mover with the big pincers creating roadways through the forest and dragging felled trees to waiting trucks.

This leads me to my invitation to join me in a healing ceremony, of sorts.

IMG_5975 apple blossom copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh

I invite you to join me in expressing gratitude to trees.

Leave a comment with your words or write a blog post on the subject and post the link in the comments section below.  In this way, we can practice some earth medicine and send energetic healing to trees being felled everywhere. In addition, if you feel so moved, speak your gratitude directly to a tree today.

I will start:

Thank you to the trees.

Thank you for your beauty, shade, blossoms, shelter.

Thank you for offering yourselves to become my home, furnishings, books, bags, paper.

Thank you for giving me your limbs for warm fires on chilly evenings.

Thank you for your medicine and the wisdom you always convey to me when I seek your counsel.

Thank you for harboring birds and squirrels.

Thank you for my guitar, violin, piano and the sweet songs that come from them.

Thank you for your sweet aromas, your waving branches in the breeze, your reminder to remain grounded.

Thank you for your teachings, sometimes painful, through the taking out of power for a day or two, or falling through a roof of a house or car.

Thank you to the giants for living so long as to remind us of timelessness.

Thank you for reaching high and pointing the way to the stars and that beautiful silhouette you create encircling me as I stand in a clearing stargazing.

Thank you for peace laurels, Christmas trees, wreathes and garlands.

Thank you for opening my heart and reminding me of the sacredness of all life.

 

Will you join me? Thank you for posting your gratitude for trees in the comments below (click on “comments” the last word of this post, below the likes and tags)

Many blessings!

Copyright © March 2013 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Big wind today

Crazy excited about something

Clearing the air

Releasing the leaves, pollens and dead weight

From trees and bushes

and

Me.

Madrone Blossoms copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

Walking the trails

I encounter my past

Strewn about the pathways

In dizzying array.

Pea hail of Madrone blossoms

Gentle blue-snow dusting of California Lilac

Needles, cones and leftover leaves from the fall

Prints of canines and critters that have passed this way before

deeply embedded in dried mud.

Only crazy people walk in the woods on a windy day.

Squirrels scold and Jays sound the alarm

Trees creak, clank and moan

Consider releasing what no longer serves

Be it leaf, twig, bough or branch.

A few will give up altogether

Surrender their roots to time

Come crashing down to meet the earth

Face to face

Unless another stronger tree

Happens to catch them in their descent.

Crow copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

Crow or shadow – crow won’t tell

Hawks and crows surf the currents

(Oh, I know you won’t believe me

But just after I wrote that line,

Two crows dove dramatically

Within twenty feet of my window.

Where’s my camera

Where’s my camera

I’m not surprised

Crow medicine has been showing up lately.)

Songbirds dive like bullets

For the next safe haven

Strategize to avoid being blown sideways.

Falling leaves twirl like little girls in

New skirts with petticoats.

I swear I can hear their laughter.

On the trail, beneath the creaking trees

A splash of white feathers

Sign of angels

Sign of a kill.

feather amid pine needles copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

After a time of solitude

The path is enlivened with neighbors

A trail runner

A couple and their show dogs

A couple with no dogs

A woman walking her horse.

Who dares walk on a windy day?

We do!

the walkers, the runners, the riders.

All that mental energy needs a bit of earth

A bit of dirt and trail under our feet

Some blazing sun to make us squint

And a good wind to face into.

I feel it pull my thinking right out

The tips of my wildly flying hair

And send it God only knows where.

Butterfly copyright (c) Kathy J Loh

I release an invocation

And let it fly on the wind as well.

I sing for all the butterflies

That emerge today,

Or on any windy day,

Who had no idea

It would be this blustery

Once they left the ground.

It’s a different kind of freedom

And freedom, none-the-less.

copyright (c) May 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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“And look! See my tears. They fill the whole night sky. The whole night sky.” – Bruce Cockburn

Saturday:

Chased my desires downhill

Swallowed them in big gulps

Gasping

And grasping

For what?

Finding my way back home

Heart-rains (heart reigns)

Both directions

Cried a river of tears

To and from that drought-choked creek

Maybe my tears will

Nurse it back to life

Small cost to pay, this rain

This broken-open heart

So full

So heavy with

Insatiable desire that gratitude

So mischievously

So beautifully

Teases out in me

What rain entices from dead wood (K Loh)

What rain entices from dead wood (K Loh)

Sunday:

Clouds were gathering.

A storm was brewing.

My practice for the day was to see love in and around me, to dwell in the heart of cosmos.*

Monday:

After threatening all day yesterday with clouds and high humidity, the rain finally made good on its promise and fell during the night. This is the first rain since Spring and I enjoyed the gentle tap-tap on the skylights, feeling cozy and secure in my warm home. “All the creatures and plants of the forest are happy,” I thought.

This morning, I took a walk on the damp trail, softened by the night’s rain. My footfall was muffled and everything felt intimate, quiet, waiting, for what I don’t know, but there was a real sense of sacredness, of gratitude, of relief.

Webs, Stars & Deep Sea Creatures (K Loh)

wet webs and galaxies (K Loh)

Rain drops clung to every branch, every spider web, glistening in the sunlight like strands of fine Austrian crystals and cast against shadowed backdrops like a Milky Way. Pungent earth aromas tinged with the spice of chaparral and pine teased my nose. The sun danced with the clouds, mosses grew greener and negative ions (those natural air purifiers) lifted my spirits. This is the Northern California that I love and to which I was first introduced when I moved north from the southern part of the state in October 1995.

I soaked it all in and it washed away my internal dust, dust that had settled in me over the dry season. My sorrows were gathered up by the rain and deposited in open seedpods which have been waiting so patiently for some nourishment. My tears and the sky’s rain echo one another. New spores and pollens are released. New life begins.

When I cry, I re-locate my heart. I feel it open and release. It hurts. It feels wonderful. Maybe if we were all willing to open our hearts and release those tears from time to time, we’d ease a bit of the pain and misery in this world. We’d have more frequent and gentle rains and less torrential, even destructive, downpours.

I pondered this:  If we have the courage to experience and release the tempest in our own hearts, we may be less likely to cast our shadows upon the world to be acted out in tragic dramas of mass destruction.  What eats at us internally, devours our world as well.

What if our tears are the rain that transmutes Gaia’s pain?

Copyright(c)September 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

References and Resources:

Bruce Cockburn – The Whole Night Sky

*Tarot inquiry/affirmation – Tarot of the SpiritLightning Spiral Mystery School

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