Whispers From the Trees: Reflection

whispers from the trees Mar 19, 2024
Trees though a lense

By Penny Reed

The sun was bright and warm, and the air was crisp and fresh. The sweet scent of the waking woods was faint on each breath stoking a tiny ember deep in my belly.

The frozen earth firm beneath each step. I marvelled at the beautiful icy earth crystalline eruptions that were present on the trail. The resident raven’s gull-gulls rippled through the bare limbs. I arrived at my quiet space and noticed the pile of tiny offerings that had accumulated through the winter months... their soft blankets of snow melted, and their reminders of relationship laid bare to witness. I took a moment to tend to this space, carefully moving fallen branches and arranging the previous offerings into a more aesthetic display. I could feel the ember in my belly burn hotter. I reflected on my relationship with the land in this hallowed alcove and remembered the promise I had made to myself, and to land, to walk each week rain or shine, heat or freezing winds, bugs or treacherous ice, to discover the mysteries of our connection and how we show up for each other. It had been a full year, and I noticed an ember deep within begin to radiate a tiny flame. Gentle tears streamed down my cheeks, and love poured from my heart.

I gave thanks and offerings and sang songs of joy and remembering. I set my intentions and began walking.

I was making my way back out to the trail when I noticed a beautiful vernal pool. Old moss-covered stumps poking their heads through the tranquil surface. The fallen trees had created makeshift bridges to these mossy islands. I knelt to greet the waters and noticed ripples streaming across its still skin. I scanned the surface and spotted a small spider in distress. Luckily I had my wellies on, so I carefully waded out to Spider and offered them my hand. Spider readily accepted the lifeboat and climbed aboard. Relieved to be free from the frigid water, they began meticulously wiping down their long limbs. Spider pressed its tiny cold body onto the warmth of my hand. I brought us back to shore and placed my hand on the forest floor. I anticipated that they would be happy to relocate to a more familiar landscape, but I was mistaken. Spider would have no part in leaving the warmth and protection that my hand and the cuffs of my sweater provided. I gave them a bit more time to regulate after their traumatic near-death experience. I again put my hand down to the earth, but they climbed further up my arm. I noticed the quiet terror in my body and witnessed the visceral images of spider and their friends making camp on my head. I resisted the urge to swipe them, and I quickly scooped them up and placed them down. Spider scurried off under the cover of fallen leaves. I reflected on the fear that the tiny creature elicited in my body. I hugged this side of myself and prayed for healing of this ancient survival wound, the understanding and acceptance that body has thousands of years of instinct genetically programmed to protect itself from potentially harmful bites.

So even when the mind holds awareness that body is safe from this particular being, it’s important to still hold space for body as it moves through its experience. I smiled as I felt my teeny internal flame expand.

I continued to the path, and Raven made another pass, its guttural song grounding each step. The cedar grove caught my eye and beckoned me to come visit. I adore cedar groves. For me they hold a vibration of hidden depths and stories that long to be told. Amongst their protective arching bows and gnarled roots, the otherworld’s whispers are palpable and in many circumstances tangible. As I stepped beneath their deep green canopy, the cooler air rushed in to greet me. Small vestiges of winter's grip speckled the forest floor like tiny snow islands in a warming sea. Noticing the matted forest floor revealing itself in such a uniquely spring manner. The multi-textured ground flattened by winter's weight creating a smooth spaciousness experienced only in this small window of recent melt. In this particular grove of cedars live giant Grandmother Birches. Circled and supported by the cedars, these short-lived delicate trees can extend their lifespan and reach sizes you normally don’t get to experience. The Birches in this grove are special to me, and through the years we have developed a relationship. I navigated through the tangled web of roots and hovels greeting each one, stopping to take in their form, embrace their trunks, and leave offerings. While holding one of the grandmothers, I heard them whisper…

“It’s time to cleanse to move out the sludge. You have resisted change long enough.”

While holding her, I could feel her waters moving through her xylem and phloem. The life-giving liquid flowed like streams to rivers that emptied into oceans. Then my waterways were reflected, and I could feel the systemic mud and resistance akin to a nefarious beaver colony that had been busy building numerous dams and lodges and greatly impacting my internal watershed. I could feel tears swelling up inside, and a deep vulnerable “how” surfaced. “You have what you need,” said the old one, and I felt called to look at my feet. There nestled at the base of the truck was an animal bone, a hunk of chaga, and strips of whispy birch bark. I picked up the gifts, and as I inspected them, messages of their meanings dropped in. Bone said - fortify, strengthen, endurance, remember. Chaga spoke first with images and remembering of all the Chaga that has been gifted to me by the grandmothers in this grove and then an instruction to use it for myself instead of always gifting it to others. That the medicine inside is what my being requires. The slips of bark held a message from the Lady of the Woods of purification, rebirth and renewal and an invitation to rewrite my story. I wept as the resonance of the information washed over and through me.

The wind picked up, and the flame within my core responded with radiant flicks.

I stayed in this place for a while breathing in integration and regulation, giving thanks and offerings.

Some time had passed, and it was time to move on from the grove. Emerging from the womb-like nature of the cedars into the fullness of the sun-kissed forest felt like a re-birth, and the bright warmth of mid-day welcomed me. My steps felt lighter, and the colours of the landscape appeared to be dancing with my ever-growing inner torch. Raven soared in the clear blue skies above, and in the distance a woodpecker foraged for lunch.

My thoughts wandered into how my experience and the wisdom from the Trees could be shared to write this article. My intention, as it is each time I walk to prepare to write, is “Dear Ancient Ones of the Plant Kingdom, today I walk with you, and I ask to receive any messages, insights or wisdom that you would like me to share with the humans. I will be writing about our experiences in hopes that what they read may help them in their journey.” The messages of this walk felt deeply personal, and I questioned as to whether they would be relevant to others.

When I got home I shared this thought and my journey in the forest with my partner. To my surprise, he said what he had been feeling for some time was communicated and revealed to him through the sharing. A deep sigh was followed by laughter as the remembering that we are reflections.

Even though our experiences are unique, they are shared.

And as cheesy as it sounds, we are in this together. Wishing you ease as you tend to your own needs and, if you feel inclined, courage as you tear down any dams or dare to re-write your story.

Walking With You, Penny

Penny hosts forest walks, Human Design readings and a Sacred Herbs Series. Check out her offerings on our website.

Stay in touch

We will happily keep you informed of new blog entries, events and our newsletter. Sign up today.

• • •

Hear the whispers of your Soul. Remember the stories of the land. Move with the cycle of the seasons & the cosmos. Find yourself in community, in what is & what yet has to come...

Discover our offerings