I love trees. I love the outdoors. I understand the power of spending time in nature. So, in my life spending time with 1000’s of trees, maybe more… how does one tree rise to the lofty honor of being my favorite? Allow me to tell you.
I moved back to Ohio in 2001. There was a lot of good and some big challenges to coming home. Good to be back near family. Hard to adjust to small town Midwest minds. My dad passed on about 6 months after I arrived. A relationship crashed. Financial challenges ensued. Blah, blah, blah. In other words, life went on and I had challenges. I had Buddy, my best dog, back then and we walked daily in the neighborhood.
The nearest park was Veteran’s park complete with trees, lake, geese, goose poop and other stuff. Buddy and I both enjoyed the park. But there was this one tree, an old sycamore that always sort of called out to me. Buddy’s walks were usually fast, so I didn’t often slow down to commune with that big tree, just waved or said, “Hi!” out loud because the geese didn’t seem to care if I talked to the tree.
One day, I was really struggling under a dark cloud and was walking, fighting back tears. I don’t even remember what the weight in my heart was all about, but I just didn’t know where to turn. Then I saw the tree. This day, I walked over to it and say, “Please help me.” I turned my back to it and leaned on it. Buddy was on a long leash, happy to wander so I turned my thoughts to the tree. “You’re so big, so strong and have been alive so long. Can you tell me what to do?” Even though, I can’t remember the source of my pain, I remember exactly what happened next. I started crying. Something in that tree reached in thru my back and opened my heart and the tears flowed. It’s not a busy park so no one noticed the woman leaning against the tree with streams of tears flowing down her face.
I stood for maybe 20 minutes. The tears slowed down, then my cheeks dried. The pain in my heart was gone and the turmoil in my mind had calmed. I somehow accepted what was happening and knew things would work out. I took a deep breath, turned around and wrapped my arms around that big tree as far as I could reach and said, “Thank you. I love you.” Then Buddy and I walked on.
Every day for years, I stopped at that tree for a lean. Some visits were short and rarely, a long commune was in order. I came to believe that trees have chakras. When I nestled myself into that one spot that fit the curve of my back perfectly, the tree’s chakras and mine must have perfectly aligned. Sounds a bit far-fetched but this is my story and only I know just what I was feeling.
About 10 years ago, I moved about 20 minutes from the park. My life changed. I got busy. Buddy found a new home. I didn’t visit the park anymore. More recently, I’ve renewed my love of being outdoors more seriously but never have connected with any other tree I’ve leaned into like I did that sycamore.
Today, I was in my old neighborhood. While my schedule is still very full, I couldn’t resist the feeling that I needed to visit my old friend. I found the park, got out of the car. I knew the tree, but it looked so different. I guess 10 years of growth will do that to all of us. I walked up to it and feelings welled up. I wasn’t feeling memories from before, but I truly was moved to see this dear friend of mine again. I walked around the tree, then leaned in… no, wrong spot. I moved over and Ahhh… that’s my spot. And then I cried. These were sort of tears of joy and partly tears about fears and challenges of my life today. But the tree hadn’t changed at all. It didn’t lecture me on staying away so long. It didn’t cry over how much it had missed me. My favorite tree just energetically embraced me and held me until the tears stopped. I looked up to admire its branches in the warm afternoon sun. I even took a few pictures of my glorious friend. Then I walked on. I missed Buddy on my walk a lot. But I’m okay with that change in my life because my dear friend, my favorite tree is back in my life again..
So, if you ever catch yourself feeling alone or lost, think of me and my favorite tree. Maybe it will be your lucky day to meet your favorite tree. They are great, patient, powerful and wise beings who are there for us if we just slow down enough to say, “help me.”