As I sat beneath the spreading branches of the ash tree in my yard I wondered what it would be like to go inside – to find a little door hidden in the shadows and slip in. Of course I’d have to be like Alice and have shrunk but details aside, what would it be like?
Would I slide down into the roots and plunge deep into the Earth or would I rise with the sap and sigh and sway with the leaves in the wind?
It was then I felt myself sinking. Not into the tree but into deep reverie. My feet planted on the grounds seemed to be growing roots. Earthed I was, grounded in my physicality, my body.
The wind in the tree top grew louder and I raised my eyes up to the branches. I saw the ragged scar of an ancient wound where a large branch must have sheared off in a storm long ago. I looked higher still and saw that the crown of the tree had once been pruned out. Thick branches now terminated abruptly. Just below them thinner branches had sprouted and now reached skyward. Some were so spindly they hung from the tree in tangled curves of dying wood. Others were strong and healthy and flung themselves out away from the trunk into the clear blue of sky above.
In that moment my mind merged with the beingness of the tree and I felt myself both planted in the ground and soaring upwards – transcendental yet of the Earth. Solid yet ethereal. Enduring despite the scars, the sometimes brutal experiences and the dreams of growth that had not survived. Going on anyway – finding new ways to be and ways to grow despite setbacks.
I felt then the presence in the heart of the ash – strong, benevolent yet detached. So old now and having seen so much – a grandmother of a tree – a wisdom keeper.
Gently, oh so softly, the tree released me and I came back into my human form. The sound of a truck bumping and roaring along the highway pulled me back into my own time and place. Like the wind in the tree tops I sighed. Endure, I thought, despite all the chaos and drama of life, find new ways to be – keep on going.