(This week’s post is a guest blog from Shawndra Miller, an admirable writer and energy worker. I’ve also contributed some words to her blog–fun to expand horizons!)
Katherine asked me to contribute a guest post to her blog, and I am honored to do it. We share a reverence for nature and, I suspect, an openness to nonmainstream ways of moving through the world.
I appreciate the detail of Katherine’s observations on her outings, and the way she melds a sense of the sacred with familial and practical concerns. We share that too. And I’m excited to see her book come out in May!
So for her blog, I thought I would write about a beloved tree that I encounter every morning when I walk my dog.
Every day, I commune with this aged hackberry tree. It feels like it might be the wisest being for miles around. I’m grateful that I live a few blocks from this tree, which is somehow more-than-tree, but Presence.
If I’m late, I blow a kiss as my dog and I pass by. If I’m not in a hurry, I rest my spine against its rough bark. A young hackberry is said to have “corky” bark, but this grand old tree has a skin more like spiny. Its toes spread at the base allowing me to nestle my feet between them on the bare earth. Never mind bits of broken glass from some disrespectful passerby.
Spine to spine, then.
Then it’s just about listening, or sensing. Sinking into beingness.
I imagine I can merge my particles with the tree’s particles. No, I know I can. We’re each just a whirling cloud of tiny specks floating in vast space. Energy touching energy, vibration touching vibration.
Contacting this reality—something I love to teach my clients and students—returns me to a sense of the timeless. Feet rooted, body near-weightless. The sensation of Oneness comes easily in the presence of Tree.
Tree time is so different from human time. That’s what comes to me as I gaze up into its branches.
And this: I don’t expect to know or understand any damn thing, standing here.
As this Pablo Neruda poem says,
What we know is so little
and what we presume is so much
and we learn so slowly
that we ask and then we die.
What a relief, to give in to not-knowing. To no longer opine or whine or conclude.
Tree has no agenda but life. The birds in its boughs spin out their short destinies. I stop and touch, stop and look up, offer my thanks, move on into a morning of work and words.
And I wonder. How big is a tree’s aura? How far does this particular tree’s energy field extend? Is it possible that as I sit here at my desk down the street, writing of Tree, that Tree feels me? That I am sitting within Tree’s aura?
Shawndra Miller is a writer and energy worker who lives in Indianapolis. She writes about changemakers at the leading edge of eco-agriculture for Acres USA and Farm Indiana. A certified ThetaHealer®, she offers one-on-one energy work, classes, and collaborative events that connect people to a wider sense of what’s possible in their bodies, energies, lives, and the larger world. Her lyric essays and poetry have appeared in Confrontation Magazine, The Boiler Journal, and The Lavender Review. She is currently working on a nonfiction book that links her healing journey to wider societal healing, represented by a farm built atop the buried remains of a 19th century women’s mental institution.