Whispers From the Trees: Focus on Where You Do WellJan 13, 2024
By Penny Reed
A blanket of fresh snow called me to the woods. I eagerly bundled up and dashed out the door - excited to discover animal tracks, magical snow kingdoms, and hidden mysteries. When I arrived at one of my favourite walking trails, it was apparent that everyone in my neighbourhood had received the same invitation, and the parking lot was full. I noticed a twinge of disappointment… a feeling that I didn’t want to share this experience with so many people, and a fear that the magic might have been ruined or lost.
I started to leave and return home when something stopped me in my tracks; a tiny roar that said don’t go.
At that moment, a car pulled out, and a parking spot appeared. I took a deep breath and pulled in.
I made my way out to the meadow and followed an animal trail to one of my favourite quiet spots. I settled in to give thanks and offerings to the land. When complete, I opened my eyes to discover that I was not alone. Less than eight feet away in this natural hideaway was a white-tailed deer nibbling on tender branches. Magical stillness surrendered to laughter and squeals of delight in the distance. Both the deer and I looked in the direction of the sounds. The excitement gave way to soft talking, and the deer continued with its munching. Moments later, the sound of gliding skis wooshed into our ears, and we both looked in that direction. We followed the skier, then a winter biker with humming wheels, and then several groups of people walking. The deer didn’t seem frightened by all the human activity but almost amused. It felt like we were watching ‘human TV’ together. Just then I remembered that I was a human, and beside me was a deer, and a quiver moved through my body. The deer noticed this tremble, and its eyes widened, and it slowly backed up. We stood looking into each other's eyes - now fully seeing each other. In a flash, the deer sprang into action and disappeared into the wild bush surrounding us.
I breathed deeply, gave thanks, and continued on my walk.
Further down the trail, I reached a spot where children were climbing on an old oak tree. The parents were desperately trying to get the children to continue walking, but the children wanted to stay and play with the tree. What they didn’t know was that the tree wanted them to stay and play too! I sat and observed as each family would go by, the children would gravitate to the tree, and the parents would have to in some cases physically remove them from the branches. There was a lull in the stream of people on the path, so I went up to the tree to say hello. I climbed up on its branches and sat quietly. I noticed a lightness, almost a playfulness within the tree. Just then the thick clouds that had brought the snow earlier cleared, and a low-hanging sun appeared in the horizon which cast warm hues across the snowy landscape. I then heard the Tree whisper…
"Focus where you do well; focus where you connect and build on this. Focusing on weakness will lead to unstable relationships/foundations."
Memories of the moments experienced earlier in the day washed over my heart, and I realized what a gift it was to share this space with so many. I laughed at myself when I remembered my initial disappointment and thought that the magic of the forest would be tainted by other humans. Such irony because in actual reality it was made more sacred.
I gave thanks and offerings to the Wise Old One and slid down off her limbs to make way for more children to visit and started my way back.
I walked past the path to my secret enclave and felt a pull in my heart. I pivoted back and stepped lightly through the woods. There in the same place we had met earlier was the Deer. I noticed a fallen tree and sat down on it. We watched/ listened to ‘human TV’ together some more as the light gave way to darkness. The trails were empty, and all had made their way home. Silence returned to the forest.
The deer looked at me, and I swear she winked. Then she leaped into the darkness.
I continued to the parking lot, and with each step I allowed the wisdom of the tree to move through me 'focus on where we do well and where we connect.' It felt good to lean into what's working and how we support that. Usually around this time of year, we intentionally pick out a weakness or a flaw and endeavour to improve them with our "New Year's Resolutions". A process that statistics reveal isn't very successful.
What if we took the advice of the Trees and built upon that which is already fruitful? What does that feel like? What does that look like?
I reflected on my experience with the deer. I had seen deer in these woods many times before and even had some close encounters but nothing like what had happened earlier. Could it be that the collective enjoyment of the forest (a place where we all do well and connect) increased the experience for all? The tree, the deer, and the plumb chickadees I feel would agree!
Penny hosts forest walks, Human Design readings and a 4-part Sacred Herbs Series. Check out her offerings on our website
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