|photo courtesy of Bob Faris|
Many years ago, on sultry Southern day, I met a special tree. She lived at the end of a gravel road, not far from the sea, her branches reaching out like welcome arms to me. She was wise and she was calm, weathering hurricanes and floods, and temperatures that stung like bees. She saw the civil war, felt hate and ugly, fear and anger. She watched the world around her shift and expand, its people learn and unlearn, their hearts fear and grow…to love. And she did so over and over and over again, for she kept living, years and years and years.
And when it hurt oh, so very much, did she ever give up? Then how did she cope? How did she weather such storms of so many centuries?
She kept living.
She kept reaching out and over, up and through, and growing more and more into who she was always meant to be. She loved herself. She knew herself. She grew, herSelf.
And through her faith in her Self she bore fruit. She gave visitors the gift of solace and shade, an inner peace and an inner strength to keep growing, to keep looking forward, to keep reaching for the light when darkness is all the eye can see.
Her name is Angel Oak and she will forever be an angel to me.
* * *
Some days, life hurts. He forgets. She rolls her eyes. The car honks or the person on the other end of the phone says just the wrong thing. An unexpected bill comes, unkind news arrives, the rain falls harder, and the pain becomes stronger. Some days, the little bit of light in the darkness is so very hard to see. That’s when I return to nature, to let her heal me.
As winter moves in, a first for me in many years, I am drawn to the magic of the trees—revealed, naked, bare to their skeleton souls. Seen as they truly are. They lose almost everything and yet they don’t falter. They stand tall and have faith. They reach up, toward the light, and reach down, deeper, into their roots, to the core of who they really are.
* * *
This Thanksgiving, I wish each of you the gift of revealing to yourSelf who you really are, to be inspired, as I am, by the Gifts of Tree. Angel Oak, bare branches on a chilly eve, a swaying palm on the edge of your sea—let nature take you home, soothe the rough edges of your life, and give you back that Self that is so sacred, so raw and filled with life, that the hurtful bits peel away. For like the Angel Oak, when we reach with faith, ‘be’ who we really are, we ooze peace and share an inner knowing that life is good, ohhh, so very, very good. Yes, as it has always meant to be.