Some days, cruising through facebook is like watching a tsunami come at me from the screen. This is wrong. That is poisoned. They’ve been LYING all this time. Dolphins are dying. Old growth forests are clear-cut. Hatred is being spewed in the name of religion. My inbox isn’t much better. Sign this petition. Share this petition with everyone you’ve ever met. Send us money. Send us money. Send us money.

But at least I can close my laptop when it just gets to be too much.
And if I need a REAL cosmic reboot, I GO OUTSIDE.

I’ve recently come through an entire year of surgical damage which kept me from actually hiking the property I live on much, as it’s all on a steep hill. As Spring has opened itself up, my body has begun to strengthen to where I CAN go farther than I used to.

But in between my convalescing indoors and my getting outdoors, we had this freak SnowStorm. It was a freak storm in any number of directions – in the TIMING (in March, as the ornamental plums were in FULL bloom) in the LOCATION (here in Eugene OR, where we hardly EVER get much more than sillysnow that’s gone by the end of the day) and in the AMOUNT (well over a foot of wet, heavy snow.) It took out our power for 13 hours (which takes out my heat, running water and stove) It was hard on everyone.

The soft muffler of white was slashed by chain saws and chain saws and chain saws as trees just let go under the weight and either tore apart or let go of the earth and fell over all together. Right outside my kitchen sink window, our one and only Ponderosa Pine lay on the snow-covered ground. As I saw a certain amount of rising up as the snow eventually melted away, I hoped that SOMEhow she might be able to stand again.

 A few days after the storm I went outside, trudging through the snow in tall boots, climbing over the flattened blackberry stands and then I saw it. Her rootball was in the air, her trunk on the ground. That’s ALL wrong. And she’s going to die.

It was rather like coming upon an elephant lying in the yard. Strange and sad, but fascinating. I decided to honor this pine as much as I could. I gathered needles and stripped the bark off only those branches I cut when I brought them in and had three large jars of infused oil going. There’s a fine line between USING and HONORING.
I observed and photographed and studied and marveled and mourned.

One sunny afternoon, weeks later, I saw all her needles just sparkling in the sun and fluttering in the breeze. They’ve never looked like that again and I wondered if that was the day she actually died.

I have since been able to walk pretty much the entire property and didn’t quite realize, until I looked at the photos I came back with, just what I was feeling that was so WRONG.

Over 20 years ago, I picked up a book called “Secrets from the Lives of Trees” by Jeffrey Goelitz. I still have it. It was a truly interesting little book for someone who was beginning to explore her dance with the plants. While his specific conversations with specific spirits of specific trees was a bit of a stretch at the time, some things did strike me – like how he just had a sense that some trees are female and others are male. But what I found myself remembering so vividly were the soft pencil illustrations by Sandy Royall of the energy patterns emitted by each KIND of tree. When I looked at the photo I’d taken, THAT was what was so WRONG all over the property.

 Trees facing sideways. Trees lying down. Trees mortally injured too high up for anyone to reach to make a clean cut. It was truly distressing and so upsettingly RANDOM.
A cherry tree out in the open, rooted precariously into a slope, came through utterly unscathed while young, arrow-straight firs IN the woods, surrounded by other, larger trees went RIGHT over. Everything felt so scrambled.

As more days have gone by, I’ve watched as the Pine’s growing tips have TURNED and have continued growing towards the sky as they always have. The sky is just perpendicular to where it used to be. Doesn’t she KNOW her roots are no longer connected?

She KNOWS. And yet she carries on – with everything she’s got left.

I was walking up the driveway (a long, steep, gravel roadway through the woods) when something caught my eye. A large pear tree had gone RIGHT down across the driveway in that snowstorm 6 weeks ago and was the first thing to meet the chainsaw or nobody would have been able to get out. The pile of brush, across the driveway from the cut trunk, six weeks later…..was BLOOMING.

 And not merely ‘token’ blooms, but bright, vibrant, GLORIOUS blooms.

Doesn’t she know?…… Oh yes, she KNOWS.

And back on facebook is a discussion of flower essences and I knew what I’d be doing. THESE flowers hold some astonishing energy.

pear flower essence

When everything around you has fallen over and you’ve been disconnected from your roots. You go for it and you BLOOM. With NO chance of bearing fruit, ever.

I began to photograph the up-standing rootballs I was seeing so often, in awe of how the civilizations that were once at the feet of these trees were figuring out which way is UP and going for it.

I headed back to the fallen Pine. Not only were her branch-tips reaching for the sky (now THAT way)

but the red tips which are the female parts which would be destined to be polinated and become cones and the male parts at the top of the photo – the clusters of pollen producers near last years cones are entering into the dance of pollination.
 Even though they KNOW…….

This dance happened every year far above my head and I barely noticed. I found myself wondering what it feels like to be a tree ‘going over’. To feel that wrench as your roots break and tear away from the soil. I am in awe of how often I’ve seen the evidence that SOMETHING tells them that if you ARE going to fall, try not to crush the little things in your path. This pine CAUGHT herself on strong branches and miraculously DIDN’T crush a small, planted-out ChristmasTree directly in the line of her massive trunk.

I saw Doug Fir branches who parted enough to let a tender fern fiddle its heads up in the space, unharmed. My grandson and I found a tiny, tiny Calypso orchid hiding beneath a protective fern frond with fir branches just EVERYwhere around it.
There are more lessons to be learned from the grace with which the trees accept what appears to be a catastrophic event than I could possibly type out in words.

I can only hope that when I ever feel my roots tear loose from the earth, that I’ll go down blooming……

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