A Remembrance of Trees

My reach today is extending out to all the trees I’ve known in my life. I have a lot of Wood Element in my Chinese Astrology chart. Trees have always been important to me; and now as I practice the 5-Element Qigong form which ends on the “standing on stake” pose I imagine myself hugging one of the trees in my life.

As a child growing up on the family dairy farm in Wisconsin, I was surrounded by trees and their gifts. There were several stately Hickories out in the pasture; we gathered their nuts every fall and let them dry and age a bit. During the long winter nights we would crack their hard shells and patiently pick out the little meats. These would go into the most delicious “refrigerator cookies” you can imagine. The Horse Chestnut in the front yard didn’t give us edible fruit; its nuts were fun to play with but very bitter. The shade of that lovely tree was the best; the broad leaves were dense, dark green and not like other leaves. The farm was named for the Maples that divide the big lawn into two columns. These had been planted by the original owner of the farm and were nearing 100 years old when I was a boy. I had hoped they were Sugar Maples and tried to tap them for their sweet sap but with no luck there. The wild parts of the farm were filled with Oak; and, yes, we had many squirrels housed and fed by these stately beings. And a favorite was a clump of White Birch down in a ravine. I tried once to harvest some bark to use as “paper.” I hope I didn’t damage them then. They are gone now along with the Chestnut and Hickories.

I encountered some amazing trees in Africa. I was there for a few extraordinary years in the late 60s and was fortunate to live in Ethiopia and tour East Africa. I loved the Acacias, initially so foreign looking to this sheltered farm boy. There is an ancient and tenacious quality about these trees; they weather all sorts of climate change looking like they belong to another age. They have lived through much and have many stories to tell. I lived in the middle of the Rift Depression but still at about 5000 feet elevation. The highlands above my valley rose to 10,000 feet and as I climbed the trails to higher villages I walked through forests of Bamboo and Eucalyptus. The scents and sense of presence among these beautiful beings was amazing: the essence of the eucalyptus in that density brought on euphoria; I loved that walk!

I lived next door to a Magnolia for a while. She was a real lovely and showed off with incredible blossoms every late spring. At that time I had a huge old Pecan tree in the back yard. I tried to harvest her fruit but she was so big I couldn’t protect her babies from insects; I guess they had to eat too! And in the side yard this little weed-like tree appeared; the next year it bore fruit: delicious little figs! In another yard in another time I lived with a wild plum in the side yard. This was the first tree to bloom each spring; and her flowers were so dense they would blow like snow in the cool breezes to cover our cars; it was fun to drive away with these flakes of purity trailing behind.

At my beloved school in New Mexico there is a gigantic Cottonwood down by the creek. I was never there for her blowing cotton but there were shreds still clinging in the woodpile, even in the summer. Did you know these trees’ cotton dissolves in the rain taking nitrogen into the soil as it goes? Did you also know that the cotton has been bred out of these trees so they can be planted in Colorado Springs without the “nuisance” of that cotton? I planted one of those cottonless Cottonwoods to be a shade tree for our grandson who is very fair-skinned. Faithfully she grew incredibly fast; almost as fast as the grandson! Aspen come to mind here because I love them and tried to plant clumps with the cottonwood. I had no luck with them; they prefer altitudes higher than our 6700 feet in Colorado Springs. We had to drive higher to admire their beauty. Did you know Aspen are rhizomes. There is a colony in Utah thought to be a million years old!

I am so grateful for all these trees in my life; and there are many more! Every 5-Element Qigong form I practice I hug a different tree for the wood element; I have a lot of practicing to do!

Have you considered all the trees in your life; and the pleasure they have given you; and the life?

PS: It’s not too late if you want to meet a Medium and receive a message from The Other Side, Angels, guides, Spirits. Rosemary hosts a Conversation with The Other Side tonight, December 7 at 7:00 pm Eastern. This Conversation is held online; you can join from anywhere. Go here for details.

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