It is a warm and stormy day today. In the distance, fall is making it's colorful march across the treetops, but for the little tree that stands right outside my window, the rain and wind have stripped it of the few leaves it had yet to drop. Now she stands there, surrounded by mighty pine trees and more colorful neighbors, looking like a poor relation ... and yet, I look at her, standing tall with her roots deep in the earth, taking whatever Mother Nature throws at her, day after day, year after year.
We can learn a lot from trees. I know I've written on this subject before, but with the current climate in the world today - the actual climate as well as the national and world political climate - I think learning something from the wisdom of trees is worth another look.
My little tree stands tall and proud because that is what she does. She has a purpose. She was put here to provide food and shelter for her relations in the animal world. Blue jays, robins, finches, cardinals and a host of others visit her every day. Squirrels scamper up and down her branches in play or in search of seeds. In the Spring she sprouts her greenery and shows it off proudly. In the Fall, she unleashes her beautiful box of colors for a last hurrah before dropping her leaves to earth to become mulch for the next growing season (gardeners take note: don't bag and trash your leaves! Put them in the compost pile for beautiful black gold in the spring). Regardless of how poorly we think she looks, she remains standing tall and strong. She is a tree. She stands up for who she is and fulfills her purpose.
Sometimes life throws storms of every kind at us, from the ones that leave us literally homeless to the ones that leave our spirits feeling as if they have no inner home to shield us. We feel battered, tired and bare to the bone, just like the branches on that little tree, but we humans need to take a lesson from the trees and stand tall for who we are and what we believe in. We were all put here for a reason and it is our duty to fulfill that purpose. We all have things we believe in, things we feel compelled to feed, shelter and protect. We all need to dig our roots in deep and not let the storms of anger, discontent, and divisiveness wear us down. All of us, just like all of the branches of a tree, need to work together. As the old Native American proverb that Dr. Wayne Dyer loved to quote so often says:
"No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves."
What do you stand for? What can you offer to the world that will make a difference to another? It doesn't need to be something huge. Can you offer food, shelter, or money, to support an organization or someone in need? Can you volunteer your services - the strength of your branches? Can you mount a letter writing campaign, knock on doors, use your vote to make your voice heard? What can you stand for?
There is a lull in the storm for a moment. A few, fragile yellow and orange leaves cling precariously to the wet branches of my little tree. A cardinal, brilliant in it's own red coloring, lands on a branch and calls to its mate. She joins him, and together they sway on the bare branches in the wind, lending their own color to the tree. I think it's their way of saying thank you. We can all do something, even if it's just to love a tree.
And so it is.