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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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(This is a follow-up post to Informed by a Fallen Oak)

The guys showed up at 7:24 Monday morning. I watched them walk by in the dim light of dawn; the boss and the three workmen, looking a bit grim and bracing themselves against the cold morning air. Within moments the disturbing whining of two chainsaws broke the silence.  The men had been summoned to cut up the fallen oak and remove a couple more live ones.

I sat on the edge of my bed and wept after hearing the first limbs fall. I cried for the tree and its life and I cried for all of the creatures it has supported. I cried for the beauty of life. It felt important to me to honor them by being present to their demise. I decided to take some photos too and this is when something magical happened.

I was struck by the relationship between the tree cutter and the tree. They looked to be in intimate embrace, tied together by the ropes that keep the tree cutter from falling. He wrapped his rope around the tree and after he sawed off some limbs, he climbed higher by moving the rope up the trunk with the saw hanging by a separate cord. He used the limb stumps like telephone pole staples; stomping heavily on each to be sure they would hold before applying his full weight.  Once in position, he pulled the saw up and removed the next batch of limbs.

I thought: The oak allows the one with the chainsaw to climb it for the purpose of taking it down.

Fallen and sawed up oak tree

Oak remains (K Loh)

The oak that fell the week prior, spoke to me of being done and not knowing what’s next; of being uprooted with no sense of a new home.

Watching these live oaks being taken down, I thought of the structures, external and internal, that present potential hazards and blocks to who I am becoming now. I wondered what those structures are.  Internally, I know they are beliefs and fundamental choices. Externally, there are many options, from the amount of time I spend online to where I live.  It’s possible they are also the spiritual practices to which I’ve become somewhat attached. They’ve served me so well, that it pains me to let them go. They will support me as I disassemble them.

And so, I am in an intimate dance with my structures, climbing to the top, chainsaw in hand, removing limbs as I go and allowing enough to remain to support me as I climb. At some point, I will remove the top and begin the decent and dismantling of the trunk.

With the root, the original essence of all that is my calling, remaining in the soil, new sprouts will grow. These will be the new structures and new ways of doing and being that will arise in service of that calling.

firewood remnants of fallen tree

Firewood (K Loh)

The logs from the original tree will become firewood to warm us and our neighbors through the cold winter months.  As my coach, Jeanine Mancusi,  reminded me, the energy of the tree lives on in every piece of firewood, every stem, every leaf. There is a phoenix that rises from the ashes of all that I’m willing to burn.  The ashes feed the seeds.

There is more spaciousness in my view with the trees gone. There is more room to breathe and more room to move without some of those old beliefs and habits. The sunsets and stars are more visible. I can see beyond the forest.

I have tremendous gratitude for the old practices and how they helped me survive some very rough times. I grieve for them even as I embrace the adventure of creating and easing into new ones.

Just as I typed those words, a hawk rode a wind gust past my window, through the very space that used to be crowded with trees. It banked, circled and then flew directly at me gliding up over the roof.

It says something to me about where I’m headed these days…

Maybe it feels like being uprooted.

Maybe it feels like deconstructing, removing, rebuilding.

Maybe it feels like burning it all to the ground.

Hawk reminds me… it’s all about dancing with the winds of change.

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


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