Tree Study can be a wonderful life long journey. I have loved trees as companions throughout my life. This practice can be taken up in the context of your biography. Many of us have special trees we have united with in our life, from childhood on into old age. Imagine the elders being taken to sit with their trees to gather energy and healing from? Or a child that is feeling low or friendless, might always know that they have a true gift in a tree that they might sit with. Some might call it tree meditation. I like the term Tree Study. It is a relationship that can be developed with both a soft gaze and a practical study. Artistic work grounds a study in beauty and meaning. A visual that can be expressed from painting, to poetry, to collage work helps to develop a sense of inner connection in a human way. It grounds us with the tree beings and allows for conversations that can soar sky high.
Our humanness is our gift and our challenge. While it might be comfortable to connect with the spirit of trees and soar to the heavens in rich imagery, it is really helpful and grounding to bring that experience to earth in a way that holds meaning for you with a particular artistic medium. I find that poetry captures the essence of a moment for me. A kind of tree essence.
I have worked for many years with flower essences. Tree essences are something that allows one to carry the essence of a tree into our internal systems...finding spirit, physical and emotional healing and connections. Working with a tree in the physical way, combined with observation and flower essence remedies allows us to open to the gifts of these important beings. The trees will ground you and take you to great heights as I mentioned. To honor them with an intention filled study, can bring great wonder and imagination to your life. Deep questions that you might be living with can find answers and connections that you might have not been aware of before.
"Sometimes you have to look at a tree from the ground. On your back. Nothing between you and they sky except the arms of a tree. Just lying on the earth, looking up. This is a fine posture for listening to the wider conversation of native voices. I gaze up at the jigsaw patter on the trunk where pieces of bark have fallen off. It looks as if the skin can't grow fast enough to accommodate the widening trunk. One of the trees is almost completely peeled to a smooth, white skin. Another is pockmarked by splotches of dark gray, light gray, and tan. Shards of bark lie jumbled at the foot of the trees in a random pattern. One by one the pieces have dropped here, creating by chance a statement of beauty few will notice."
- Stephanie Kaza
Begin a tree study this month. The trees are just beginning to stir in the coming of spring here in New England. Any time of year is fine to begin. Take your time. Find a tree that for some reason calls to you. If you do not have land near you that holds trees...perhaps a tree that you find in a park or a walk that is easily accessible to you can be "your tree". Try not to make it too difficult to be with your special tree. This practice is different than finding a "sit-spot" frequently talked about in nature study circles. Approach your tree with an openness and wonder as well as a curiosity to learn and study. Bring both meditation or quiet contemplation as well as active listening and artistic study to your practice of "being with a tree". Gather a journal and drawing tools, or painting materials and venture out with a sense of adventure to discover your tree.
The biography of your life is vast. There are many lenses to examine your life closely or at a soft gaze distance. All of the looking will become interesting when you begin to approach your life study with a kind of warm interest. May your own biography find many trees to companion with. I hope that a new way of looking will begin to emerge for you.