Virginia St. Claire
Liquid Light Blog
The Year of the Tree
About four years ago I suddenly found myself paying attention to trees. I’ve always loved them. I have been a tree-hugger since childhood, but this is different. I begin to feel a tree, to feel that we are siblings or at least, members of the same tribe.
I heard that when the birds begin to sing their spring nesting songs, the trees know that is the time for their leaves to unfurl. Millions of buds burst forth with new life. I long to know my place in Nature like that.
I began to think: we humans are in a symbiotic relationship with the trees. We breathe in the air and use the oxygen while releasing the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere for them. They do the opposite: breathe in the air and return the oxygen for us to use. Why I never thought of this before is beyond me, but I didn’t. We’re in a dance with the trees as are all the other oxygen using creatures on the planet.
Next I thought that if that’s the case what an intimate relationship we have with each other. Breath is our most essential need. We can do without food, without water for some days, but without breath we quickly die. We know the rainforest is being decimated. Who would mindlessly destroy the brother and sister who fulfill our most essential need?
Then I thought of all of us who wish for the grace to support our beleaguered planet as it heals from the travesty we commit on it everyday. I believe the trees support that. We are all part of the same tribe, the trees, we humans, and, of course the deer, the bears, the foxes, the birds . . . I feel less alone with the task of returning to the light and love which, I believe, alone can heal us and our home. I send blessings to this tree, now that tree, now all the tree families. I say thank you.
The way we look at life in the West is to assume that human beings are the pinnacle of creation, that animals and plants and rocks are lesser evolved—if at all. The people of Burkina Faso in West Africa see the pyramid of evolution completely the opposite. The quieter something is, the more evolved it is. Then animals are more evolved than humans; trees and plants more evolved yet. I naturally extrapolated from that that rocks and the most evolved of all. I like shaking my beliefs up and seeing things from a new perspective. Enter: The Year of the Tree.
So it became for me the Year of the Tree. When the next year came around I wondered what it would be the year of. Ah, another Year of the Tree, and then the next year? Another. Now I do look at trees differently from the way I saw them in the past. I do see them as steadfast in the journey toward faithfulness and truth. They stand. May I stand.