Early last week I took a two hour wild-cat strike from my life in order to visit the old friend above. This is the Shagbark Hickory tree I've made allusions to in other posts. It was an absolutely smooth & easy re-union of earthly souls and cosmic spirits. Caught my first glimpse from the road driving in - marveling that it's now a smooth aphalt road rather than roughshod mud and rocks. When the hickory's crown first crested into view I exhaled in relief. It was to be a ceremony of celebration rather than a letting-go/restrospective experience. I was the only apparent human in that part of the larger landscape. When I first emerged from the car a young red-tailed hawk fluttered silently from one bare tree to another. I had my phone out with the camera ready but the bird flew further afield. This left me free to call out to the Hickory as soon as I began crossing the road from the ever-so-famiilar spot where I'd parked.
A very big chunk of the Everything - all the different facets that have led me to approach the natural landscape as the inherent microcosmic framework of All That Is was learned, questioned, refined, and tirelessly developed by wandering through the forests and fields of conservation land where this particular tree is located. It's the first Tall One I approached with a consciously co-creative intention: Hello. I would like to be your friend.
When I last visited this piece of land, a few weeks after we closed on our Place here, I walked through many parts of it saying goodbye to 14 years worth of time and time immemorial itself in the scheme of all I had learned. I saved The Shagbark Hickory tree for last - telling it i was going to live in a place with many many hickories. All coming from a Grandfather much older than this tree's Time. I felt the tree in some undefinable way exalting in its reception of this news at a tree level - crown-to-crown. a human who Knew would now in turn be known by Elsewhere trees.
I walked three clockwise spirals around my friend's rootline(s) - talking aloud the entire time. Eventually I drew close enough for an embrace. My communion with the tree's spirit turned inward. I pressed my forehead breasts and belly against the tree's trunk telling it Everything there was to be told. About what it had come to mean to me over time. How often I dream or think about it. I recalled the delicate and swift adjustments this tree made within its own energy flow the nano-second its medicine spirit realized the force of its obviously joyous response to a far more tentative and fully-Unknowing embrace from me had been momentarily frightening enough to shrink back inside myself.
Those years ago, when that happened, the tree re-calibrated the velocity of its energy exchange with fluidity and grace. And although over time whenever I've recalled that moment I've felt a trace of shame that I didn't trust enough to just flow with it rather than shrinking back - as I stood once more with the actual tree I saw there was no shame. What the tree had taught me about its responsive intelligence level was a stunning gift to receive. It allowed me to approach each and every tree I've encountered since with reverence and an authentic sense of honor to know them.
I stood silently in an embrace that felt entirely mutual - making sure to express some pivotal experiences in which I felt myself in the tree's position with another human and did my best to find both grace and timeliness within my internalized and expressed re-adjustments. I said it had been life-changing for me in the way a tree's life-time drops many nuts to seed the life of many more trees. Together we vibrated. It was a similar harmonized frequency. I was there. With my friend. Both of us remembered and in various ways treasured one to the other.
(I thanked the tree, repeatedly, for believing in me enough to let me know its essential Nature.)
This is the strong and sturdy Approach I've used all the times I've hugged this tree. The close-up shows so well how this particular species gets its name. If you follow the trunk to its other side you see its wound. I will admit I was shocked to see how much has changed - how much further decay and erosion - in a single decade.
(if you follow that link you'll see what the top of the wound looked like about a dozen years ago.)
Now it reminds me of larger tree hollows where people hide - or meditate for shamanic effect. It looks like a kind of mantle a person could wear if they were strong enough to shoulder such magnificent weight & meaning. I took these pictures after realizing the tree seemed to be doing the same thing this much smaller survivor has done. The tree is winding into itself. What looks so much like UNwinding in the other tree might instead speak of a much larger tree than what the living trunk suggests. I'll have to look at the base of the other tree and see what that reveals, if anything.
do you see?
scroll down to next post to compare. Sure looks like the same botanical mechanism. In this case it is an internal unwinding that's hard to see because of the shadows on that day's occasion. I was amazed and astonished to make the connection. If there's anyone reading who'd be able to help me/the rest of us add to our knowledge base - such as what is this self-healing mechanism Called and how much of the tree's various layers are involved in getting the re-stabilization goal achieved - please share your learning!