Nature as Our Teacher
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright
There is a lot to learn from the natural world when we tune in to listen. Trees have an intricate communication system, using their roots to “speak” to one another. They have a living network hidden beneath the surface, constantly sending messages about impending diseases, pests, or droughts. Through their unique internet connection, they support one another mostly without human intervention. If this piques your interest, I suggest reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Mr. Wohlleben spent over 20 years working for the forestry commission in Germany. His book takes you on an enticing journey deep into the forest to uncover the fascinating and thought-provoking hidden life of trees. The following story of my beloved maple tree powerfully illustrates the connection between man and nature.
At one time, I had a gorgeous maple tree outside of my office window. She was big and old. She provided the most splendid shade on a hot summer’s day before my office was air conditioned. Her trunk was approximately three feet in diameter indicating she was quite old. One summer, she was struck by lightning and split in two right down her middle, almost to the ground but not quite. I was devastated. The local tree “doctors” came and drilled a bolt through her middle, drawing the two sides together. A nut was put in place and ropes temporarily secured her while she healed her wound. The amazing thing is she not only survived, she thrived! After several years had passed, she had covered over her saving bolt with fresh bark and any newcomer would never have known she had been damaged. In this case, she needed human intervention to help her heal and restore. She provided life to animals, birds, and insects, and she shared her shade and beauty. Human ingenuity and technology saved her. It is a powerful reminder to engage our senses and understand the elements as we commune with nature. This will surely open our heart connection.
I encourage you to reflect on a tree that was special to you, perhaps as a child or perhaps more recently. What connection, if any, do you remember?
Set the intention to find a tree and take a few minutes to sit under it, leaning against it if possible. Or simply place your hands on its trunk. How does it feel? Discover how alike you and the tree are. Notice any feelings or sensations that arise. Offer gratitude for the connection and return as often as possible!