For the Love of Trees

Willow tree in summer

Interestingly, I didn’t become a true tree worshipper until I moved to New York City, probably because I was surrounded by more concrete than anywhere else I’d lived. I actively sought out ways to balance the energy of the City and discovered the welcoming embrace of so many exquisite trees in Riverside Park and Central Park.

Now, notice I didn’t say “tree-hugger”… as much as I love a good hug, my favorite way of connecting with them is to sit beneath one with my back pressed up against its trunk. Throughout the pandemic, I found peace and connection under the cherry trees across the street in Riverside Park, bringing an umbrella if it was raining, and allowing myself to just feel deeply held when human hugs were at a premium.

The many trees I love

There’s the cypress tree in Central Park that was the first place I went after I got the call that my father had died 25 years ago. Only later did I discover that the cypress is actually an ancient symbol of comfort and solace. And last month, I married a couple under one of their favorite trees in Central Park. They didn’t know it was a linden tree and when we looked it up, found that it symbolizes love, fidelity, peace and prosperity — definitely an auspicious place to launch their marriage!

Another favorite was “my” willow tree in Central Park, pictured here – I called it my grandmother tree because I felt so wrapped-up and nurtured when I leaned into her, surrounded by her weeping branches. Sadly, I learned that willows only have a lifespan of ~ 30 years and was bereft when she had to be taken down.

I have to admit that when  we’re looking for places to visit on vacation, one of my top criteria is that there are trees nearby to commune with. So, I’ve sat under palm trees in Mexico, sand pines on golf courses in Florida, and in stands of poplar trees next to mountain lakes.

And most recently, I’ve spent a lot of time under my oak tree in Riverside Park, feeling her strength and healing power as I’ve grieved the loss of my nephew Max in early May. There’s nothing like a good tree to silently embrace and comfort you in the darkest times.

How about you? Where are your favorite tree-friends? If none come to mind, go out and make some! I’d love to hear about them. And in the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of the tree-loving resources I’ve pulled together for you here.

Earth-Mending Meditation

Ten years ago when I was sitting under a little tree next to a rushing stream, I had the extraordinary experience of “downloading” this meditation. I saw in my mind’s eye, an image of a grid or matrix of tree roots encircling the planet, supporting, sustaining and connecting all parts of the globe. I was “instructed” (by my higher self, my guides, my imagination… I have a pretty good idea, but that’s a longer story!) to imagine divine white light flowing down from the highest branches of the tree through the crown of my head, down through my chakras, and out through my root chakra, sending gentle healing energy into the tree’s root system.

From there, I could visualize that energy spiraling out to energize and connect with the global root matrix. Pretty cool, huh? You can listen to a version of it if you click on the link above (and fast forward to 6:00 minutes), or I’m happy to lead you through it in a private meditation if you sign up on my website. It’s pretty powerful!

The Hidden Life of Trees: by Peter Wohlleben

The subtitle of this wonderful book is What They Feel, How They Communicate” and that says it all. I found this book 8 years after creating my Earthmending meditation and you can imagine my surprise when it revealed that the “tree root matrix” is a real thing! Wohlleben is a German forester and exquisite writer, explaining the powerful processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific mechanisms behind these wonders. I promise you don’t have to be a tree nerd like me to be captivated by his writing!\

“Finding The Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard

I just started this book and am loving it as well! Forest ecologist Simard also presents the idea of a forest as a co-operative, communicative and beneficent network that’s connected by, you guessed it, an underground root system, with the largest, oldest trees (affectionately called Mother Trees) being the most densely connected. Sure fits my view of the magic of trees and makes it even more imperative that we protect them with all we’ve got.

Ancient Tree Archives

The work of this important non-profit is “simply” to PROPOGATE the world’s most important old growth trees before they are gone, REFOREST the Earth with the offspring of these trees , and to ARCHIVE the genetics of ancient trees in living libraries around the world for the future. These trees are essentially a global warming solution. Check them out by clicking on the link above, get on their mailing list, and make a donation.

Two Articles & A Poem

There are soooo many wonderful articles, books and resources out there educating us about the healing power of trees, both individually and for the planet. Here are just a few:

Why Trees Matter — an old one (from 2012) that talks eloquently about the important role trees play in climate change.

Why a Tree is the Friend We Need Right Now — a current and equally eloquent look at how trees can help heal us as we move past the pandemic.

When I am Among the Trees — an exquisite poem by Mary Oliver that so captures the poignant message of trees it made me cry.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this dive into the wisdom, beauty, and healing power of TREES, and that you’re now inspired to expand your own “forest”!