Ever since my April visit with the Oak Tree, I’ve been making a point of hanging out with the tree periodically. It’s nothing like a regularly scheduled practice: I just go and sit under the branches when the mood strikes. I think it works out to once every other week, and I’d like to make it more often, but this is me we’re talking about. Short attention–oooh, shiny!
In any case, my Oak friend is looking very different these days, compared to the bare branches of April.
Now sitting with the tree is like sitting in a green tent. The branches come down nearly to the ground–I have to duck to get under them, though once I’m close to the trunk there’s plenty of room to stand.
I’ve been known to talk to plants and trees. And yes, they do talk back–in a way. Some of them have a lot to say, actually, and meditating with them is like speed dating, they want you to hear everything all at once.
Oak speaks, but . . . it’s more like rustle, rustle, creak, hush, whoosh, shhhhhhh. I guess an oak tree has plenty of time to say what it has to say, and this one is young yet. Barring an act of god or chainsaw, this tree could stand here for a couple centuries. And right now all it has to say is “Just spend some time with me.”
I’m happy to oblige. Every time I sit with this tree I find myself able to be fully present in the moment. I lean against the trunk and look at what’s around me. I notice the tiniest bugs, the texture of the soil (which varies with the level of moisture and the temperature). I notice that there are at least three different varieties of grass growing around the oak, and now they are setting seed they each have a distinct plume. I hear everything–leaves moving, cars passing, neighbors talking, and so many birds. A scrub jay nearly always makes an appearance, perching above me and looking me over before flitting off to find more food. The Squog usually joins me, purring and filthy. And even if it’s only fifteen minutes, after my time with the Oak I’m more clear-headed and calm.
I don’t know if anyone else would call it meditation–I let my mind do an awful lot of wandering while I sit there. It’s more like daydreaming (and my birth family would have called it being lazy and wasting time). But the result feels the same to me: it helps me become grounded, centered, focused. I’m sure it also lowers my blood pressure and it will probably increase my lifespan.
I have to wonder, though, what does the tree get out of it?