Breathing with trees


Yesterday I sat with my back against an ash tree.  Its top branches waved in the wind about 85 feet above my head.  Barry had pointed out the ash earlier as we peered at it from the kitchen window.

“Look at the ash this year, Kathy,” he said.  Its crown holds feathery-looking seed pods.  Most of the leaves have fallen unto the earth, but the seeds linger on.  Wikipedia says they’re samara seeds whose shape enables the wind to carry the seed farther away than regular seeds from the parent tree.

Call the seeds wingnuts, or helicopters, or whirlibirds or whirligigs.  There they fruit on top of an 85 foot ash, pregnant with baby trees.

Whirligig 2

I actually love this tree because of the odd way some of its arm-branches bend.  It’s not your usual tree (if there is such a thing as a usual tree).  The tree is nobly itself.  It’s not afraid of difference.  It’s not trying to impress its neighbors, those poplars and maples.  It will not kowtow to the mighty oak.  The ash does its ash thing without tree society criticizing.  As far as we observers can tell.

Thank goodness it reaches toward the sky outside our kitchen window.  Someday it will fall back into the arms of the earth, all 85 feet of it, and if I’m still alive I will mourn it like a lost friend for a day or month or year before probably forgetting it even existed free and beautiful in the changing seasons.

Ash 1

I have been contemplating roots for the past several days.  Growing roots out of the bottom of my spine and legs and feet.  (They are invisible, so you can’t see them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not present.)  Thinking about rootedness.  One of my spiritual teachers says that the body loves feeling grounded, rooted, solid.  It loves when it feels it belongs to the earth.


It’s interesting walking around with roots.  My body seems to relax.  Sometimes it takes us a long time to truly make our home on this planet, to feel like we’re exactly where we’re meant to be.  Roots hold us gently, with love.  Their tendrils sink lower, lower, lower.  We’re nourished in ways we didn’t even know we needed.

Yesterday, in the overcast afternoon, just after a walk up and down the road, I settled my back against the ash. Breathed in, watching breath move up the spine of the tree into its arms and branches, way up there in the sky, all the way to the whirligig seeds blowing in the wind.  Breathed out, feeling breath move all the way down into the invisible tree roots, all the way down into the earth’s humus-soil, all the way down to China and beyond.  (Just in case you were told as a child you might possibly dig to China if you shoveled long enough.)

I wondered if the ash is truly aware.  Alive, yes, that’s for sure.  Aliveness dances in its entire essence.  But IS the ash aware in the same way that you’re aware of these words?  Is the ash aware another being sits at its holy feet?  Everything in me wants to say yes, but something still doesn’t know.  It’s a mystery, this awareness that breathes us.  What do we know for sure except we’re sitting under an ash, breathing up and down, up and down.

This is a picture of the ash tree that "didn't turn out".  Do you think the tree was showing us its spirit?

This is a picture of the ash tree that “didn’t turn out”. Do you think the tree was showing us its spirit?

This morning I thought about writing about breathing with trees.  Like Kevin Costner  dances with wolves.  I wanted to urge all beings to breathe daily with trees!  Have you taken your tree vitamin today?  Have you soaked in your maple or elm or ash medicine?  Have you lingered with your spine against a tree and simply breathed in and out? This is where I would usually end a blog post, but something is changing in me as I breathe with trees and grow roots into the darkness.

I thought about sitting against a tree in an urban or suburban setting.  How challenging it would be for me to prop against an apple tree in my mom’s yard for all the neighbors to see, or a palm tree down in Florida beneath the condo.  An almost invisible inner voice would whisper: what would everyone say?  What would they think?

Palm tree & whirlpool.   Life doesn't get much better than this...

In the evening dusk, perhaps, or the night-time dark, yes.  In the woods, yes.  Maybe even in a park, where lounging is encouraged in our society.  But against random trees, out in public?  I can feel layers of resistance arising.  Years of conditioning which insist: You can do this, but not that.  You can act this way, but not that way. Behave in ways so that people don’t think you’re too weird.

Even Kevin Costner didn’t dance publicly with the wolf.  But the natives saw him, and recognized his spirit, and named him:  Dances with Wolves.

Along with growing invisible roots that reach deep in the earth, I have been exploring meeting all sorts of feelings and emotions that have been deeply buried for much of this lifetime. I am letting shame, guilt, anger, frustration and not-knowing come up into the psyche, out of their secret hiding places in the flesh of the body.  Not turning toward the positive too quickly. Not embroiling into old stories.  Just simply allowing the socially unacceptable feelings to surface and letting them be digested by space and time and breathing and roots. Allowing them to be.

Tree 2

Seeing that this is all OK.  More than OK.  Someday I may even have the courage to breathe against a tree in public even if it makes me or you uncomfortable.  In the meantime, I hope to breathe with trees again today in the womb of this woods.

Reflection question:  would breathing against a tree in public make YOU uncomfortable?  If your answer is no, can you find a similar activity that would make you nervous or less than confident?  Can you even pause for a moment to breathe in and allow and digest that wobbly fear?  (No need to publicly share if that would make you uncomfortable–but maybe just think about it.)

Love, Kathy





About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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50 Responses to Breathing with trees

  1. Carol says:

    Now I am wondering what my fears are. Other than things like fear of edges, fear of falling and breaking something. Would I breathe against a tree in public? I don’t know, but I’d like to think I would.

    • Kathy says:

      If you decide to try it, Carol, let me know how it feels. Sometimes I think it’s the idea of things that can be scary–but the actual doing of it proves to be OK. Like the mind thinks it’s a big deal but it’s not really. I can be afraid of edges too (like on top of steep hills, and especially if there were children involved). Thank you for pausing and reflecting!

  2. debyemm says:

    I hug trees, don’t generally sit at them though – and I am deep into roots – my roots – finally identified and embraced.

    At the end of my writing session yesterday, I had a pretty powerful experience. I am reading “It Didn’t Start With You” by Mark Wolynn about inherited family trauma. I have finished with the background, scientific information and am reaching the part where there are some guiding exercises.

    The instruction was to connect with my parents – both of whom were adopted at less than one year of age. I had already read that this is a preverbal stage of development. I was wanting to touch their emotions when they were first taken away from their mothers.

    I wrote this –

    Lost, sad, confused, disturbed
    Hansel and Gretel – deep in the woods
    the breadcrumbs leading back to
    mom and dad – gone, taken away

    And began to sob with a profound sadness.

    I understand now that my own family system is rather large – natural and adoptive – all are equally part of it. Maybe – like the forest – a vaster network underground than most of us are usually aware of.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, thank you so much for sharing this. What sadness to think of what lies underground that we’re not even aware of. Your parents both must have experienced such heartbreak in their young lives. And, like you said, they were pre-verbal. So the pain can’t really be digested. And it can get passed on from generation to generation. That you could sob and begin to digest the inter-generational pain is such a gift for humanity, I believe. There is so much cultural pain underground as well. I had thought I was feeling every emotion possible in my own life, but am now just beginning to realize the depths that are still here to experience. Love your analogy of the forest network that connects us all.

  3. john k. says:

    I know that feeling of mourning the passing of a tree. Late August the willow tree that was the center of our yard split in a windstorm with half of it falling to the ground, the other half left standing with its weeping branches laced between the powerlines of Front street. The first day he saw it, my son, Jim said that tree is what makes this yard special. It was like a hub with the pines, maples, oak, and cedars surrounding it.

    The story we were told was that Leo Brennan Jr. came home one day from school dragging a willow branch he found behind him. He played with the branch swinging it around ’til he was called in for dinner. So he took the branch and stuck it in the ground where he was playing and ran in. Supposedly the branch took root and grew into the tree that decorated the lawn.

    It was some weeks until Tikky’s was able to come and take care of the issue. When they did come, Mike and I stood looking up at what was standing and that which was already on the ground. It was a joint decision that the entire tree had to come down. I had to leave shortly after they got there and I stood for a few minutes watching them disassemble the tree and feeding its branches into the chipper. I felt like a piece of history was being ground to bits. I thought about Leo, now dead, and the day so many decades ago he “stuck” that branch in the ground. My soul wept for the passing of the tree, and the legacy of Leo’s branch disappearing from the yard, and becoming only a story that someday will be forgotten too.

    • Kathy says:

      John, thank you for sharing the story of your own grief so poignantly. Your love for the life of this tree feels immense. How it’s woven into a sense for the history of the land and the town with Leo planting that branch. That almost sounds mythical! …and a tree grew out of that stick…like a King Arthur story. The trees can be the center of our homesteads, rooting deep into the earth between the stories of our everyday lives. The tree remains steadfast, a little bit like God, until it dies. I honor the depths of your feeling, my friend. You may feel it’s getting stronger as you grow older, but maybe you’re being asked (like I am) to sit with these deep emotions in your body during these waning years. Ooops, what am I talking about? You and I are not waning yet! But, but, there is a service we can do by learning to sit with pain. Usually we get stuck in the stories. But deeper than the stories, maybe deeper than the roots, lies the healing we’re all yearning for.

    • rehill56 says:

      I really appreciated your story John. My husband and I live in my parents homestead. There is a tree (was a tree) that stood atop our hill facing the lake and it had a swing on it. This tree was enjoyed by all the family and grandchildren alike. ( I took a picture of it on a beautiful sunlight kissed day. It is a perfect picture.) When it died and my husband had to cut it down, my siblings were so sad when they heard of it. They almost sounded like they were blaming me that I should have done more to save it, to keep it for them, for their memories…..they weren’t ready to let go of that former time….They didn’t want times to change and people and places to pass away. It’s funny how something like that can represent your life. I love all the interconnectedness of life. 💕

    • Oh goodness! I am finally able to comment on the blog itself again. Yay! Your post is rich on so many levels, Kathy. The being grounded, visualizing sending down roots into the earth, has always freaked me out. I still wrestle with it. First encountered this idea during some sort of meditation class in the 80s, I think. I can’t shake the idea that it imprisons me, and I can’t move, flow, get away. It feels stationary. I must explore this in new ways
      As for trees themselves, I want to believe that they are aware – of us, of their surroundings, etc. I feel like they are! Apparently trees and I became friends when I was not even quite a toddler. There are a couple of pictures of me sitting under trees and, often, eating their leaves. As I grew, mostly I climbed trees. Seems I always had a favorite tree. I loved to hide in them; they were my escape, even into adulthood.
      I love how you describe the ash and its not being afraid of difference; not trying to impress, etc. What a lesson there! So much to learn from trees, from nature…
      I’ve often sat with my back against a tree, but in public it was always at a park; “sociably acceptable.” I did once lie down right in the middle of sea grass, in my work clothes after a terribly hard day, and all I could think of was lying down and listening to the ocean for a while. I did, right in view of the townsfolk and businesses. It was such a sweet relief that I even went to sleep for a bit! I can’t recall ever doing anything like that again. Just remember not caring; the call of the ocean and need for peace and rest dominated all other thoughts.
      Ahhhhh, thank you for your treasures and for the refreshing ways you help us see things with new eyes. Much love!

      • Kathy says:

        I am marveling in the depth and breadth of these comments today. What you wrote here sparked my heart-roots! Actually, I know exactly what you mean about being freaked out about the root-meditation. That was always the case with me too. Didn’t like it one bit. I am not sure what has changed. OK, maybe it’s this: the mind is what freaks out. But the body feels soothed and loved and supported by it. Strange, huh? I keep watching the body be comforted by the umbilical cord of this visualization. And since I can be terrible at doing visualizations (grin) perhaps it’s more a feeling of attention and weight which soothes. Not the roots themselves but the downward orientation. Maybe?

        Now, Ms. Susan, did your mama let you eat tree leaves as a child? Or were you sneaking them? Ha ha, I can picture you munching on them. Sitting below and in your beloved trees. Escaping into that hidden cloak of greenery.

        Thanks for getting that “socially acceptable” part. Can you imagine propping yourself against a tree over there in town? I am glad that you did that ocean-sit, though. You listened to what your body needed without fretting about the townsfolk.

        It’s delightful having you comment here, you know! What a treat to see your “testing” post! See you soon!

  4. Elin England says:

    Hi Kathy: Breathing publicly with trees would not be considered terribly strange in Eugene, which is such a bastion of tree-hugging, dirt-worshipping, tie-dye adorned permaculturists. I’m sure, however, that I could find any number of other activities that might bump up against my comfort level. Roots have been a fascination of mine for years, and I have been known to have fairly lengthy conversations with favorite trees. Have you read Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees? If not, look it up. Quite fascinating. Good stuff here, keep it coming!

    • Kathy says:

      Elin, how nice to see you here. You are probably right that it would be much more socially acceptable to breathe publicly with trees in Eugene. I thought about that while writing–that out on the West Coast it might be just status quo. Here in the Midwest the folks are a little more cautious and reserved. I have not yet read the Hidden Life of Trees, although my friend recommended it whole-heartedly. Two recommendations should inspire me! Have you read The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell. That was very interesting as well. Thank you for reading, my pen pal!

  5. Barb says:

    Hello Kathy of Deep Roots,
    Your post conjured a long-ago memory for me: My father died whe I was 9 and shortly afterward my mother sold the family home, and we moved to a different town (uprooted). On moving day, I crawled deep under an ancient evergreen on our property. Its boughs scraped the ground. I sat on dry needles with my back against the tree. It was a hot, humid day, and I felt miserable from the heat and from my sadness. I cried until I fell asleep and woke to my mother calling me at dusk – it was time to leave. I knew that my mother was also weighted with sadness, so I climbed out from under that nurturing tree and never looked back. I kept the sadness hidden inside me for a long time.

    I think I am less guarded now that I’m old than I was when I was younger. I’m more willing to show my real self. I have less need for validation by others. However, there are still memories like the one I shared that fill me with a long-held grief.

    The photo of the “tree spirit” reminds me of the photo of yours that I have of the Lady in the rock. Whenever I look at that photo, I can believe in infinite possibilities. Hope you’re feeling well, Kathy. I’m waiting for Bob to finish today’s treatment – all is well so far.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb that is such a beautiful and poignant story. To think of the small you underneath that ancient evergreen being nurtured and protected. Such a small child to lose so much so early! It seems we humans sometimes have to keep things deeply hidden for a long time until we’re ready to bring them to the surface to be truly felt and digested. It seems a lifetime of work perhaps. Thank you for liking the spirit pictures. Infinite possibilities indeed. We need to remember those infinite possibilities. I am seeing them for you and Bob.

  6. sherrysescape says:

    I don’t think I would have a problem breathing against a tree – I think it sounds lovely, peaceful, inviting. No, I just have a problem breathing out my own thoughts into others’ ears, unless they’re good thoughts, of course.

    • Kathy says:

      Sherry, it is so lovely and peaceful and relaxing, indeed. And in our private woods it can feel so healing. It’s almost possible to become a tree, at least for a few minutes. Yes, I hear you about the challenges of breathing out our own thoughts. So many self-judgments and perhaps even other-judgments can keep rushing in to tamp us down, keep us socially acceptable, limit us. It may be a lifetime journey to keep gaining more courage to express ourselves with more of the fullness of ourselves. I think growing roots in a metaphorical way soothes our body and we’re more able to express in a solid grounded way instead of from the wisps of branches overhead. Blessings today!

  7. Profoundness. That is what you are about, always thinking beyond the norm but I get what you have written. I don’t think about breathing with trees but, I really appreciate them. Except for the invasive ones that some numbskull brought from China or Japan many years ago. They grow where the natives need to grow and choke out other native vegetation. I love the trees in my yard- the oaks and elms and yes even the native hackberry which can be a nuisance. I don’t lean against the trees because we have ticks and I sure don’t want to get sick with a possible tick borne illness.

    So here is all trees, the good and the bad ones. I am a champion for trees and have always loved them We must never take trees for granted. Thanks for an entertaining post.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, I am feeling you as a champion for the trees now–the way your sturdy heart protects and loves them. How important it is to remember them and not just allow ourselves to forget their gifts. The invasive species can be challenging for the native beings. I find it a challenge sometimes to find ways to open my heart to those non-native ones, too. But have you ever found yourself falling in love with an invasive species as its wee heart speaks to you telling its traveling story? Wow, is that crazy. But it’s happened here, I must confess. Blessings to you!

  8. dorannrule says:

    How I love trees too! I love the mystery of them and the feelings they provoke, the goodness they shed. And I do mourn their loss when they come down. Thank you for this post. It reminds me how fortunate we are to be surrounded by such majesty.

    • Kathy says:

      We are fortunate, indeed, for the gift of the trees. It can be so easy at times to take things for granted. I just got off the phone five minutes ago with my mom who spoke of a woman in the condo whose aorta burst unexpectedly. We spoke of how we can’t take things for granted–you never know what will happen next. Dear trees fall to the ground all the time during windstorms here. Thank you for sharing your love of trees here, too, Dor.

  9. rehill56 says:

    I love thinking of you sitting and breathing with the tree! Makes me smile. I know how much we need the trees. Do they need us?

    • Kathy says:

      Ruth, of all people, I think you can probably almost picture the exact tree–since you’ve been by it many times. But you ask a very good question. Do trees need us as much as we need them? They help give us oxygen and so many other gifts. But do they need us? Maybe our love and good feelings help to nourish them in some way that we don’t know. Since so much of life is a circular exchange, I suspect that might be true.

  10. rehill56 says:

    And I love roots….😁

  11. Janet Zahn says:

    As always, Kathy, I love your latest writing. As others have noted, the many layers are so tasty!

    Your way of combining your words with images is one of my favorite things about reading your blogs. The image that struck me was the palm tree near the spa with the warning not to dive. I chuckled a little there, because what else is water for but to dive into? It so well symoblized the way in which we are discouraged from diving deeply into our emotions, feelings and thoughts. And yet, there is always the opportunity to breathe with the moment and see what is there. And trees, of course, are not judgers. They can hold the space of our socially incorrectness. My other thought is how fortunate we are to have the trees to breathe with. They love our waste (C02) and we can’t live without theirs (oxygen). I have this sneaky feeling that we are kinda doing it all the time.

    Many years ago, during my pagan days, I studied and ceremonied (I might have made that up) with Starhawk and the Reclaiming community. One of the very first things we did each day was to use the imagery of trees to ground ourselves – in the moment, in the ceremony, in the place. Rooting or grounding is such a useful tool to me – sinking deeply into the earth, feeling the dirt, the rocks, the roots of other living plants – makes me feel interconnected, stable, balanced, and present. In fact, I used the imagery last night in the work out class I was teaching to help some of the students with the balancing exercise we were doing. “Imagine there is an energtic cord running down your spine, through your leg and out the bottom of your foot – just like tree roots”

    But conscious breathing with trees is not as familiar to me. How I look forward to doing so on my walk to the radio station this afternoon, where I will look for the edges of discomfort as cars zoom past (and perhaps crane their drivers peer and wonder) and I will also consider how I can breathe through other areas of uncomfortable thought, word and deed.

    I love this assignment. Challenge accepted.

    • Kathy says:

      Janet, I actually got a few tears when I read your post yesterday. The tears just came up unexpectedly with the breadth and depth of your reply. (I am loving the depth of everyone’s replies here. They feel as deep as intertwined roots.)

      Thank you for pointing out the “Do not dive” and the palm tree photo. Wow! For sure, great metaphors. I went searching for a photo with a palm tree but didn’t notice all the extra little touches. When searching for or adding photos I try to “feel into” them, to feel their depth. So thanks also for enjoying the pairing of images and writing.

      How fascinating that you used the energy-imagery in your teaching of tree roots. Synchronicity, again. The Universe seems to love to weaves its serendipitous root-webs.

      Would love to hear how your assignment went. If it was easy, hard, or somewhere in between. I actually have not been back to breathe with trees since writing this. Now the Universe has another assignment here: to keep my heart open. I’ll let you know how that goes! 🙂

  12. Robin says:

    Your ash tree is so beautiful. We lost our ash trees in NE Ohio because of the emerald ash borer.
    I mourned their loss (maybe I’m still mourning). First the elms to Dutch Elm disease, then the Ash trees. I love the picture that “didn’t turn out.” Yes, I think it indeed showing us its spirit.

    Synchronicity again, Kathy, with the invisibility, the rootedness, the breathing with trees. I’ve been hanging out with, breathing with, rooting with, a loblolly pine that was struck by lightning several months ago, wondering how it’s doing. Several of the giants were struck by lightning this year. Some are dying. This one seems to be doing well, so far. It’s been amazing to watch as it heals itself of the wounds caused by the lightning. I wonder what the scars will eventually look like. I do think the trees converse with each other. Maybe if we learned their language, they would converse with us, too.

    Have you read Emergence Magazine? It’s an online multi-media kind of magazine and it’s fairly new. There are essays, podcasts, and videos, which I have been slowly exploring. There have only published two issues so far and each issue has a theme. The first issue was Perspective (the second was Wildness). They include a practice with each issue. The practice with the Perspective issue was Befriend A Tree. I mention it because I think you might like it.

    As for fears, I’m not sure I would have the nerve to sit with a strange tree in public. In a park, as you mention, probably. In someone else’s yard or on a street? I’d like to think I wouldn’t be embarrassed to do so, but I suspect I would. There are quite a few fears I have that are like that — even leaving comments on blog posts sometimes makes me feel a little wobbly. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, thank you for reading and for sharing from your heart in your comment–even if you felt a little wobbly. I like that word “wobbly”. And the way using it can give us permission to be wobbly at certain times in our evolution.

      So very sorry about the death of your ash trees down there. And oh those beautiful elms as well! There was a delightful elm near my childhood home that towered above the apple orchard trees and served as a boundary between us and the neighbor’s house. I loved that elm and it died, too.

      We do cycle in synchronicity at times, don’t we? Have seen some lightening-struck trees here in the woods and they do often scar over and heal.

      Have NOT heard of Emergence magazine (I don’t think) but will go looking to explore what it’s about. Sounds fascinating. Thank you for sharing honestly that you might be a bit scaredy-cat to sit out on a street or in someone’s yard and breathe with trees. Wondering if we might ever get to a place in life where that wouldn’t matter? Or maybe our shy roots run deep and it really doesn’t matter if we commune publicly or privately. 🙂

  13. Lori says:

    I didn’t realize how much I loved trees until my husband once pointed out that I take lots of pictures of them.

    Hmm, would I feel uncomfortable sitting against a tree in public? I don’t think so. I think it would look like I was just taking a rest. I tried to think what might embarrass me to do in public. On Halloween I went trick-or-treating with my nephews. My brother and a couple of other dads were in the group of us. I was the only adult dressed up, and I was the only adult who ran onto the jungle gym with the kids when we reached the park. I told everyone that my scary getup was me not wearing my regular makeup. LOL

    I don’t know if those dads in the group (I didn’t know any but my brother) thought I was nuts, but really didn’t think about it, at least not until I read this blog post. All I wanted to do was have fun with the kids. I just feel so blessed to be near family again and enjoy this type of stuff with them.

    So, hmm, Still thinking . . .

    I’ve got it . . . I would’ve been embarrassed if this old body would’ve tried wearing a sexy nurse costume or something like it. LOL Those days are sure gone.

    Sorry this got long. I just typed off the top of my head. Have a nice, cozy weekend up there in the UP, Kathy. Thanks for sticking around this crazy blogger friend of yours (that would be me).

    • Kathy says:

      You have made me chuckle, Lori. Oh my goodness–a sexy nurse costume might indeed put me “over the edge” too! Or how about wearing a bikini? Other women do this as they get older, but part of me just cringes at the thought. Do you wear one? I just bought a new bathing suit while in Florida, but it’s a definite one-piece. Ha ha, this is NOT talking about trees!

      You also made me smile as I imagined you running around with the kids. That sounds so fun and freeing. I am proud of you for doing it. And not even thinking or caring about what anyone else would think. I probably might have done that, as well. It’s so funny what things we’d do without a thought and what gives us pause.

      As for crazy blogger friends–I am just as crazy as you! We can’t be TOO predictable, can we? Thanks for typing long and sharing some of yourself. xoxoxo Kathy

  14. I am breathing in your words with such love and serenity, Kathy. They are the words I need to read today, the reminder I need to breathe in the trees outside my home, to thank them for their roots and their presence within Mother Nature, for their gift of oxygen to the atmosphere and their beauty for our psyches. You are leading me outside as soon as I finish this comment. It’s sunny and 45 degrees out – a gorgeous Fall day. I’m grand-dogsitting this weekend, and Charlie and I are going to walk amongst the trees and then sit at the base of the big oak nearby. In the sunlight. Proud of our roots. As I’ve reached middle age (perhaps at the end of middle age???) I don’t embarrass easily. I was a bit hesitant to dance hip hop in the grocery store the other day with my granddaughter, but I did it. I embarrassed her, I imagine, but she’ll never forget it, or that her grandmother didn’t let fear stop her from dancing in the aisles.

    • Kathy says:

      WOW, you hip-hopped in the grocery store?!! I am so proud of you, Pamela Wight! You are such a free spirit. It’s interesting the ways we can be free spirits and do all sorts of interesting crazy things and the ways that we get shy or scared or whatever and don’t. I’ve always been a mixture of both.

      Did you go for your walk with Charlie? Did you sit at the base of the big oak? Did it talk to you? Did it whisper secrets, or did Charlie distract you? Did it tell you a new story?

      Enjoy your sunny 45 degree day! We have about 39 degrees but it’s spitting rain/snow and cloudy and ominous. Some dry orange oak leaves are waving at me outside the window. Hello Oak Leaves. Hello Pam. Thanks for pausing here under the trees with me.

      • I had an amazing walk with Charlie. We both stopped in awe in front of two trees that were dressed in exactly the same shade of Charlie’s fur. The world was GOLDEN! Trees remind us of the golden possibilities out there – so do dogs. xo

  15. Alluvja (Lucienne) says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve been here and it’s such a delight to revisit.
    Thank you for this heartfelt read.
    Love always my friend, from accross the skies and oceans to deep down through the heart and roots of mother earth.

    • Kathy says:

      Lucienne, I love that you stopped by to visit! Thinking of you all the way across that blue and gray and green ocean, past underwater reefs and coral and deep crevices. Thinking of you in your country and the way your heart encompasses the world. xoxoxo

  16. Kathy, your post today spoke directly to me, and addressed questions I’ve been asking myself for weeks now. All of it, really, the grounded-ness, the roots, the communion with trees and nature…but especially the questions of where and when I would sit with a tree. I’ve grown a protective shield, over the years, that protects this old body-heart-soul from embarrassment, pain and simply looking foolish. It also, I have found, prevents many wonderful people and experiences from entering my life. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of questioning of this “safe” life. I think it may be time to break down the walls of this crusty old shell, and remember what it feels like to live life out in the open. Thanks for your wise words today, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, thank you for sharing about your protective shield. I suspect many of us–if we’re honest–can find those shields within. Perhaps not everyone wears a mask in certain situations, but many of us humans have learned that it doesn’t feel safe to be completely wide open. Maybe it IS time that we figure out ways to take down those walls and crawl out of our shells. Thank YOU for always taking the time to thoughtfully comment, even in the midst of your busy island life.

  17. Kathy, hi. I am Geeta from India. I liked your post a lot and you write beautifully. I love trees too, but in a different sort of way. Not for their rootedness perhaps, because I have never experienced rootedness in my life, having always wandered from place to place especially in my younger days.
    I have to admit, though, that I feel a great sense of awe and admiration when I am around them. I love them for how much they give of themselves, how generous they are. And I feel awe when I see how strong and rooted they are too.
    Recently, something terrible happened where my parents and I live. Suddenly one day, a bulldozer and excavator arrived and razed the trees in front of our home to the ground, tearing them out by their roots. Naturally, we were crestfallen. But it was only the next morning that I realised the full impact of what had happened. The birds had all vanished. They were nowhere to be seen and of course, there was no birdsong in the air. It’s just too sad.
    Anyway, please keep writing and share more. It was a pleasure reading this one. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Geeta, I loved reading your comment (even though it evoked so much sadness with the loss of the trees and the precious birdsong) because you made me feel like I was right there in your world. I am wondering if wanderers grow a different kind of root. An invisible root that allows them to feel home wherever their feet travel? Thank you also for the encouragement to write more. You have sent love across the world!

  18. sybil says:

    I must confess I probably wouldn’t breathe on a tree in public but will definitely try it the next time I’m in the woods …

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, for some reason I’m strangely happy to hear you say this. I would have thought you were endlessly courageous and brave. You are in so many ways. It’s interesting to hear the ways we aren’t so brave.

  19. Pingback: Dear Fountainpen, | Lake Superior Spirit

  20. I’m sorry I missed this post ~ I was very occupied with the birth of my grandson the day before and am trying to look back, a little at a time, for posts I missed.

    It seems silly but I am uncomfortable doing just about anything in public! But I love trees and feel the energy radiating from some of them. The kind of energy that stops me in my tracks and makes me gasp and pause to stand under them, looking up into the branches.

    I was particularly fond of a hemlock tree I could see from my childhood bedroom window, and spent many hours sitting up in its branches when I was little, feeling soothed and comforted. After I left home, the crown came off of it in a storm and it is very ill now with an infestation of the woolly adelgid pest (from eastern Asia). Nothing lasts forever, does it? It breaks my heart to see it dying this way.

    I love that you’re learning about and spending time with your ash tree. ♡

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I love thinking of you pausing and gasping which feeling the energy of the trees. I can almost picture you doing so. So sorry to hear about the disease in your precious tree…have not heard of that before. You are right about impermanence. As for my ash tree–it’s too far away through too deep of snow to reach it now. Will have to sit beneath its budding branches in the spring, if that ever may come!

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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