An Experience with a Tree
Posted: February 9th, 2021- Nathan, the Land Manager
I once was camping by myself in a beautiful wooded glen. This was a time in which my heart was really longing for connection. I went out amongst the trees, touching each one without any expectation. When I reached a particular hickory tree - not an overly large or old one - just your everyday teenager hickory tree, I had this distinct inclination to stop, face the tree, and wrap my arms around it. It felt like something deep inside told me to do it.
I know what you’re thinking … those mushrooms I’d harvested earlier that day weren’t “wood-ears” after all. But that’s not it. I’d had no alcohol, no mind altering substances, nothing but quiet time alone in the woods.
After a furtive glance around just to ensure that I was really alone, I did as “directed”. For a moment, all was silent. My mind was still. Then I felt the first little tug. This first tug turned into another, and then a stronger pull, and ultimately an irresistible one. Fearing no malice, I surrendered control and some essence of me was pulled from my heart into the center of the tree and then down deep into the roots underground and up to the tips of the spreading branches, touching the warmth of each leaf as it was proudly preening for the precious sunlight.
During those few moments, my essence was everywhere in that tree, and I finally knew how it felt to be well-rooted. The sense of interconnection was overwhelming and my mind was filled with a deep appreciation.
I've hugged a lot of trees since that day and though I sometimes feel that initial tug at my chest, I've not replicated that experience. Even so, I won't ever look at forests and trees the same way again.