I saw the most wondrous thing today
A Tree—an oak actually
her long gangly arms reaching skyward
gnarly roots stretching out all around
together weaving a tapestry of community
fungi and bacteria and other plants and trees too
all in conversation and communion
And me, for a moment belonging too
breathing this tree’s oxygen exhaled and
she inhaling my CO2 gratefully offered back
as though we held hands like lovers
the two of us each alive
sensing and touching and exploring the world around
through our own particular gifts of intelligence and senses
For a moment she had me convinced
and I bathed in a kind of soul medicine
stood in the presence of an awake being
one capable of feeling and knowing and caring
the universe holographically mirroring itself and then
And then I snapped back on myself
like a rubber band stretched too far in the hand
and I remember my proper human superiority in the world
It is after-all, rationally, only a thing you look at
my father and mother and teachers, preachers and politicians of the world say
inanimate, useful for shade and firewood and lumber
yet something strange is happening within as I listen to these inherited truths
The world grows poorer, somehow less
as though all the butterflies and rainbows are being sucked out of it
it’s like a great amnesia is spreading across my vision
and I…I grow foggy as though with Alzheimer’s
I can’t seem to remember who I am
yet something about the light of the moon
glistening like falling jewels off shimmering tree leaves
scratches at the doors of my memory
Like so many of these eco-mytho-poetic reflections that come out of me, I did not see where this one was heading when it started. I only felt this sense of awe and gratitude at the experience of sharing presence with this grand tree and then came a great sense of grief for our cultural loss: co-creatively and reciprocally partaking in the world as full community members.
I see this as a kind of developmental of ‘loss of orientation.’ History suggests it had to be this way for a time. How else might humanity ever discover our true place on the Tree of Life except we forget it for a time? We are now however entering the Age of Consequences for this story of human separation from and dominance over nature.
The consequent great forgetting within the human soul and psyche, of our place in a world of interbeing, of living embedded within a universe of presence—is an unspeakable blow to the collective and personal spirit. It is this wound that leaves us insatiably unsatisfied with substitutions of possessions and power.
The antidote for the wound-of-forgetting is to eat again from the mystical and mythological Tree of Life, the Tree of Oneness. Innate response to nature’s beauty, such as awe and wonder and gratitude, are carriers of this healing available to us but for the opening to them. Their energy is transformational and as practices, they are cultivable.
Nurture yours, for in this is our hope in an age when little boys in men’s bodies would rule the world.