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Hug a Tree
Listen friends,
today,
when you’re tempted
to place your armor on,
to throw on your mask,
to pick up your weapon,
I urge you to pause.

(right here.)

Good.
Now, open your door.
Take a step
into the wild beyond, toward
the untamed world that lies
just past the ordinary threshold
of your home.
Find a tree that calls to you.
The one with crooked branches,
or a quick climb up.
Find the one with speckled leaves
or a skinny trunk.

Consider this beauty.
It’s for you.

Who are you, who am I
but a speck of dust
when I wrap my arms
around her wide berth?
She, an ancient seedling
sprung up with
no urgency,
no pushing,
no gain,
but with a simple
unfurling into herself.

First a sprout,
then a sapling
and now,
decades later,
a mighty presence.
A survivor in the midst
of vast development,
wisdom among the living,
silent other than the
rush of leaves as
she plays with the wind.

I lean against her.
I wrap my arms around her glory.
I ask her my timid, human questions:
What secrets do you hold in your rings?
What do you receive that I miss from my haste?
How have you embraced the forces that have
broken your branches and tore at your bark?

She listens to me.
She lets me love her.
In return,
I listen to her.
Wonder washes over me
as 
I consider her strength of spirit.
She, the one who allows pieces of self to fall away,
crumbling toward the ground
to enrich the very soil her roots grow in,
a natural rhythm she doesn’t disdain.

Hug a Tree close upHer and I,
this sacred, ordinary tree and I,
we share a moment.
We are connected.

You and I,
a sacred, ordinary you and I,
we share this moment.
We are connected.

It is in 
the listening,
the loving,
the reflecting,
the compassion
the time we share
among the living
that gives us the strength
to go into the world
unarmored
ready to share a hug
with those
who need it most.

It is in
the criticizing,
the hating,
the misunderstanding,
the judging,
the pointing fingers
with the time we have
among the living
that places armor
over us
keeping us distant
from contact,
distant from
sharing a hug
with those
who 
need it most.

So, how do we let ourselves be loved?
And, how do we love in return?

Maybe, when we turn to nature,
when we go to a tree,
when we sit under its’ shade,
soak in its’ smell,
we are renewed in mystery.
No, a tree isn’t God,
but maybe a tree
gives us 
a slice of God’s nature,
a slice of goodness.
Maybe a tree restores
us in considering God,
not as vengeful, retaliating, hateful,
but God as good,
as love, as beauty, as listener.

We all need a little love
and a tree
will always receive you
where you are.
A tree will simply love you back.


Dedicated to my dear, tree-hugging friend Harmony (pictured in the artwork) who celebrates her birthday on Saturday. Love you friend.