A tree has something to say
“When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent.”
— Hermann Hesse
It would be difficult for me to quantify, or even accurately describe, how much solace I have gotten from trees, for as far back as I can remember. As soon as Jeff and I reached a point where we were able to be a bit choosy about where we lived, we prioritized having as many trees as possible to look at from our kitchen and family rooms. Even in California, where trees were far more scarce than they are here in Virginia, we enjoyed having beautiful eucalyptus or willow trees looking back at us from across our yard or just outside our windows.
Once many years ago, when Eric was on a quick layover in San Francisco, I met him in the city and we drove to Muir Woods for a walk. Of necessity, we discussed some heavy, urgent and sad topics related to illnesses among our family members. At one point when we paused to look up into the green cathedral of redwoods overhead, he expressed regret that its beauty was the backdrop for our current preoccupation with worry over our loved ones. “I hope all this talk isn’t messing this up,” he said.
“You can’t mess this up,” I said. “This is way bigger than any of our problems.”
I meant it. The serenity of that timeless glade was a balm to my troubled emotions, more effective than any chemical remedy could have been. And it’s not just the majestic redwoods that inspire me to such transcendent peace. I’m equally comforted by the common trees that light up with the sun each morning, greeting me as I come downstairs to begin my day, whether in York or Alexandria.
As Jeff and I recently celebrated our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, symbolized by the traditional and modern gemstones of emerald and jade, I am grateful for green in my life, in all its many forms. Whether you find yourself in the midst of summer or winter, I hope you will find some green in your world today, to bring you thoughts of stillness and peace.