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The Wisdom of Trees

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

I fell asleep leaning on a tree once, stricken with grief I surrendered to the strength and steady presence. I awoke disoriented, still held by the gentle steadfastness. I had taken trees for granted for years, always there. Trees hold a wisdom. Trees hold comfort. Trees are forgiving. We are surrounded by living trees all looking different and yet the same. I read the following poem in reverence for the wisdom of trees.

Amongst the Trees by Peter Morgan

“As I sit

Amongst the trees

I am reminded that

Some of us are evergreen,

Our outer layers

Seemingly unchanged

Through harsh winter's bite.”

“Others are deciduous...

When the seasons change

And conditions are

Less than favourable,

We feel it,

We shed our withered leaves,

We fade and fall back.

And what remains is

Laid bare and exposed,

So vulnerable

Yet, perhaps, a quiet dignity abides.

In times of darkness,

We deciduous folk,

We focus down to our roots.

We conserve what energy we have

Ready to emerge with new growth

When we feel the first light of spring.”

“What a shock

It must be

To learn that one is deciduous,

Having rested with the laurels, (so hardy!)

To see the pines and holly without folly.

To feel autumn,

As leaves leave,

And winter

As if all is lost.”

“And then relief!

To know

That one can endure the seasons,

This time, at least!

Each year a wisdom

and a confidence,


This too will pass.”

“Those old oaks

Told me it would be so.

It was hard to hear them,

But when I really listened,

Deep down in my roots,

I knew my place

Amongst the trees.”

Participants’ Reflections:

  • I love trees. The diversity of what they do, they are a bulwark against global warming. The poem anthropomorphizes them. And shows how people are like them. In a drought, trees share their moisture. They are altruistic.

  • At the end of meditation, a sentence came to me. It is hard to say, but I will. “I am glorious, full of light, love, beauty.” So hard to say it.

  • Fake it til you make it. Write it down.

  • Years ago, I took a class with an assignment to write an essay on roots. I wrote about the roots of an oak tree I had growing up. I was a quiet child growing up, full of fear of my father. My tree was the father I could talk to. My friend loves trees and got a tree tattoo on her arm. She was walking alone in the park, and she had an experience where she became one with a tree. There are so many varieties, just like there are varieties of people. The trees live in harmony with one another. See the movie “Fantastic Fungi”. It gives me hope for afterlife. What's beneath our feet is more intelligent than what’s above ground. Fungi send out healing for other trees. Pay attention to the beauty and comfort of trees.

  • I remember being about eight years old. We had a tree in our front yard. I climbed up and felt cradled by it, swaying in its embrace. I haven’t thought about that in years.

  • We covet our pets who are living things. Trees are too. They are also living thing we live with. They are witnesses to our lives.

  • My daughter had a writing exercise in school when she was young to sit and listen to what a tree was saying to her. She started with things like “my branches are holding squirrels.” Then someone said something and distracted her. Her response was, “That's so loud, I can’t hear what the tree is saying to me.

  • I love trees. I am surrounded by trees. Our trees need rescue work because there are so many vines choking off the trees. But the evergreens rise above the vines. It reminds me of a poem I wrote about a bunya bunya tree where I grew up as a kid. The coconuts fall from these trees. We kids would hide under them and they were our little shelter.

  • In the meditation, I remembered being a child and I would take the bucket seats from the car and bring them up into a tree. As an adult, I am a woodworker and I’m reminded of the chestnut oaks growing up. Old shaggy trees with deep roots. I’m like that tree now, getting shaggy and craggy with deep roots that help others.

  • What a marvelous family we have become!!! Love you all

  • I remember also climbing a tree when I was a child. I remember crying when men cut it down and took it away. As an adult, I learned to read tree auras and I adopted a big bushy tree where I lived. Every morning, I’d go stand under the tree and it would tell me what to do.

Photo credit: Jackie Poston

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