trees

Below my feet

Taken on the magical trail to Rainbow Falls in North Carolina.

Taken on the magical trail to Rainbow Falls in North Carolina.

I have always been magnetically pulled to the forest and the mountains, drawn in to their mystery, their intrigue, their strength, their magic.

I have forever been comforted by the trees, standing tall and holding out their arms, protecting me from the harsh realities of life.

As I walk down the forest paths, I hear the familiar sound of my feet hitting the ground, crunching leaves, kicking rocks and snapping twigs. It reminds me once again to be present and grounded – heart beating, lungs breathing, moving forward.

The further I get from myself, the more I need the forest to hold me up. I need it to ground me. But mostly, I need it to remind me that I am equally as overwhelmingly important and humbly insignificant as each tree, each leaf, each twig on the ground below my feet.

As Tall as the Trees

live oaks

“Walk tall as the trees, live strong as the mountains, be gentle as the spring winds, keep the warmth of the summer sun in your heart and the great spirit will always be with you." Native American proverb

Those mighty live oaks that blanket the lowcountry are iconic. With their complicated branches reaching and bending, twisting and turning towards the sunshine and rain, they are the epitome of shelter, comfort and strength. They are home to animals and plant life alike. They are shade from our sweltering summer heat. They are protection from the elements for so many life forms.

Sometimes I take their strength for granted. Walking by them, leaning on them, finding comfort beneath there embracing branches. I curse the clean up every spring and fall as they shed leaves by the truckload. I get frustrated by their acorns scattered on my back deck as they jab into my bare feet. I mutter under my breath as I drag their broken branches blown down from a storm to the curb.  But there they stand - steadfast and strong every day - not asking for anything from anyone...only wanting to be there so they can serve to protect us. 

If a tree were a human, I would like to think I wouldn't feel this way. I would like to think I would embrace and love that person, despite their leaves they let haphazardly fall around or their acorns they drop clumsily every so often. I would love to think that despite these perceived shortcomings, we all have the space to be loved just as we are - broken branches, messy piles, and thick trunk and all.

Maybe as we move through life, we should remember the trees. Selfless and strong, bowing to nothing. Changing for nobody. And always protecting those around us, regardless of who they are. 

 

 

Giants

muir woods

It is humbling...the presence of these trees. To stand in the glory of a giant Redwood tree is to be in awe of life as I know it. Their ripened age, their sheer size, the history they have seen.... It's an incredible experience. Once that I knew on my recent trip to the West Coast I must experience again in my lifetime.

Deep in the forest there is such a silence. Yet through the quiet stillness, you feel the energy. Water runs, breezes blow, birds busily build their nests, and creatures crawl swiftly across the forest floor in search of their next meal or their next home.

And yet, there they are - these grand trees. These Redwoods. The giants of our living world. There they stand - still and stoic amongst the bustle of life all around then. There they stand, supporting us all in their quiet stillness while they provide, shelter, nourish, and nurture - never asking for a thing in return.

To me, this is where I feel alive and protected. This is where I feel safe and still. These giants can't fail me. They can only protect. I know this in my heart.

And as I walk out of the forest, I am sure I can hear their gentle voices through the breezy afternoon whispering sweet nothings in my ear.

Safety net

live_oaks

The twisted and turning branches of the live oaks form a canopy like no other. Their arms gracefully shield us from the elements of life - protecting us from anything too harsh to see and encasing us in their webbed safety net like a flock of mother hens.

I want to stay here forever under the strong arms of Mother Nature. I want to linger in her cocoon of love and protection. I want to be guarded by her stature against the odds of life. I want to lay safe with her and rest happy, knowing she can keep out the bigger problems surrounding our souls.