Friday, August 13, 2010

My Friend the Tree

May I introduce to you my friend, The Tree.

I met this friend three years ago when I started working my summer job at a local Friend's school. There is a very old meetinghouse there, established somewhere in the 1600's. I enjoy working there during the summers, change of locale and people. The children are darling and the campus is gorgeous. Behind the meetinghouse is a very old cemetery with a variety of trees growing. They seem to me to be sentinels, watching over both the living and the dead. In this setting is where I met her, my friend The Tree.

I was first drawn to her by her lovely, spread out roots. The first year I was there we would pass by her, taking the short cut through the cemetery to the athletic fields where the children would have sports, and I noted her roots. I pointed them out to the children and they of course began to clamor all about her. It seem there is nothing more enticing to children then a large welcoming tree. They felt her bark, ran among her roots, studied the insects crawling on her. It felt magical!

As I began to run my own hands on her smooth bark I too began to get swept up in her magic. I marveled at her roots spreading out into the cemetery. I studied her trunk which appears to me to be many smaller trees twisting their bodies into one entity. As the children began to spontaneously hug her, I followed their lead and embraced my new friend. Her huge trunk made me feel small and safe, as if she was some kind of Great Mother.

My second year I saw my friend again and repeated the ritual. I felt welcomed once again in the peaceful setting and there my friend waited for my return. New bugs and creatures were discovered, moss and lichens. My magical friend taught me of constancy and patience. Again I felt safe.

This year, upon my reuniting with my friend, I performed what I did not realize became a ritual of sorts. Every time we would walk by I would walk up to her and pat her, smiling. I felt she was a gift of the Holy One, a metaphor for the Tree of Life. Her she was again, steadfast and strong, watchful and inviting. On one of my encounters with my friend, my co teacher remarked saying,

"You really love that tree, don't you?"
"I do." I laughed embarrassed. "Why do you say that?"
"Because every time we pass by you touch it."

Apparently this did not go unnoticed by the children either. They began pointing excitedly every time we would draw near to her exclaiming, "Look! It's your friend The Tree!!"

I laughed out loud! My friend, The Tree.

I decided to formalize our friendship, so I greeted her saying, "Hello my friend, The Tree. Thank you for your gifts. Thank you for being a friend." I hugged her.

It's amazing to me where you find Love. In the eyes of your children, other people's children. Love in the words written across a page, a forgotten message of devotion. In the eyes of a stranger or a long time friend. Family, companions, travelers along The Path. Divine Love is found everywhere and in everything. Look deep into your heart, into my heart, Love is there.
Or into the woods, or nearer still and find a tree. Who knows, you too may make a new friend, The Tree. I never expected to have the Holy One show me love through a tree. Silly I know, why of course wouldn't I. I suppose then, I still have a lot to learn.

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  1. I just loved this post. Lately I've been sitting on my porch and just observing all the beauty God has created. You are so right, there is so much love out there if we stop to appreciate it. All of creation has a thumb print of the divine and that beauty and love is all amazes me how often we miss out on it. it's a simple pleasure that fill my entire being with a overwhelming passion. unexplainable and so beautiful! (can you tell I've been listening to some breslev's? hehe)

  2. p.s. I just read your Rebbe Nachman quote... I hadn't seen that before I wrote my last comment. I knew you had to have been into his teachings somehow ;) keep blogging!


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