Sunday, August 10, 2014

Nature's Greatest Teacher

Having to spend most of the summer indoors while my very inconvenient fractures mend has not been my idea of a glorious summer, but as with everything else that happens in my life, I am trying to find the lessons in all of this. Being under medical house arrest until I was given the okay to "do" the stairs (which, living in a 3rd floor walk-up is essential, I might add), it forced me to look for other means of fulfillment and entertainment. It gave me no excuses not to apply my butt to the chair and work on my writing. It gave me the opportunity to read some of those books I was going to get to "some day." It encouraged me to get out the crochet hook and play with some new ideas.  And especially for those first few weeks when my shoulder was in too much pain to even hold a crochet hook and I had to sit with my leg elevated, it gave me the gift of stillness. That's when I got my most important lessons on life from the trees.
When you have to sit and do absolutely nothing but rest, you can either choose to go crazy or look for a silver lining. I chose the latter. I started watching the trees. After all, they were also stuck in one place. Maybe there was something to learn here. Well, there was more than something, there was everything. Consider the following:
  • Trees give of themselves with no expectation of reward. They produce beautiful blossoms only to freely let them go to allow the fruit to grow. They reached their magnificence in the Autumn only to let go of their colorful leaves to go bare for the winter. There is no whining or complaining about this. It's just what they do.
  • They provide homes for birds, squirrels and whoever needs a place to stay and never discriminates who can live there and who can't. They provide shade in the sun, shelter in a storm, and clean air. The don't expect a thank you.
  • They come in all shapes and sizes, some growing crooked, some tiny, some huge, some with peeling bark and some full of insect holes. Nobody judges or criticizes each other. They accept without question.
  • They stand there year after year, decade after decade, in steadfast faith that as long as they have their roots firmly planted in Mother Earth, she will provide what they need to live and fulfill their purpose which is to give of themselves in selfless service to the world.
How many of us can say the same things about ourselves? Wayne Dyer is fond of quoting a Native American proverb that says, "No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves." Can we say the same?
I challenge you to take some time to sit it one spot for an extended period of time and watch the trees. Reach out your spirit to touch theirs and see what they have to tell you about how to live your purpose. They are the wisest of elders in our own backyards. Some of them have been there for over a century. If only they could speak, imagine what they could teach us.
And so it is.