In August, I went to a forest of Redwood trees in California with my partner. We’d been there once before, and wanted to visit what was determined to be the oldest tree in the grove – over 1400 years old. In the twilight, we made our way towards it. Along the way, we only encountered a handful of people on the path. Finally, we looked up and there it was, the tree they call ‘Colonel Armstrong’. As we stood still, taking in the beauty of the tree, a quiet breeze arose. And then I heard it clear as day. “Be patient. Just be patient.” I looked over at my partner. An odd expression was on her face, and she turned to me and said, “Did you hear that?” I smiled and she said, “The tree talked to me.” I smiled again, knowing something that I didn’t even know I knew. That this was normal somehow. Old trees sharing their wisdom. If only we’d pay attention.
Plants were here on earth long before us, and many insects and animals were also here before us in some form or another. We’re the new kids on the block in many ways, and it shows. Who else would poison and destroy its own nest in order to acquire power, fame and/or material items? Who else would be so foolish as to think they can outwit the entire planet, and even beyond?
Maybe Colonel Armstrong was also talking to itself. “Just be patient, and the humans will be gone.” Not just me and my partner, but all of us.
Many of us balk at things like listening to trees or talking with trees. It seems like nothing more than ‘magical thinking’, the stuff of our ‘ignorant’ ancestors. Regardless, I think it might be wise to start paying attention to the trees again. Really paying attention.
Just be patient.
Photo by Nathan Thompson – all rights reserved