I went for a walk in the local park a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful summer day, and I especially stood in awe of the magnificent old beech trees. It feels like they have been some of my most constant companions through life. They were already here when I was just a toddler brewing ‘witch-soup’ from the water left standing in the natural bowls created by their roots.
Then I stopped in my tracks, as I noted all the mushrooms that had sprouted from the bark. Surely these hadn’t been there last year? And suddenly I felt sad. For I realized what this meant: this tree was dying. It might still take a number of years, but…
And so, without thinking, I mentally reached out to the tree and told it how I felt. And to my surprise, it responded. Not denying it was dying, but explaining to me how it saw this as a reason for joy, not sadness. For soon, it would be truly part of everything…
I cannot recreate the words the tree spoke to me that day. For they were spoken at soul level, in a language that goes heart-to-heart, and is beyond words. But I went back some weeks later, and asked it if it would allow me to record its thoughts, so I would be able to let others share in its wisdom.
What follows is a transcript of that conversation:
This is a message from a tree-being.
Why are we given a body if we cannot move and explore the world like you do? What can possibly be the value of such a life?
I know many two-legged creatures see us that way. I know you think your own life experience superior to ours. You cannot understand that which you do not know.
My body is my way of being present in this world. It is who I am, and it is how I exist. The whole of my life experience consists of interaction. Of exchanging songs with the air around me, and of dancing in the rain. I enjoy the sunrise every morning, as I feel how energy starts to flow through my veins again. The soft breeze tells me of the adventures of the night.
Every morning it gives me an update of what is going on in the world around me. I am aware of all of that. I live a thousand different lives, simply by virtue of existing in the here and now.
But you have no power. I hear you think. You just undergo that what the world around you decides for you. And maybe I do. But how different is your own life, really, how many active decisions do you take, and how much is merely directed by the undercurrent of human culture? Think of that, before you judge me.
I am. I am the sum and total of the world around me. I drink sunlight, I taste air, I swim with the waters, I am living flame every autumn, getting a change to reinvent myself in spring. I live a full life. How full is yours?
And about my death. I know you mourn about me, little one that is writing down my thoughts. You seek to heal me, to prolong my life. Well, once again I must ask you to reconsider your preconceptions.
For I am not dying. I cannot die, for life is immortal and I am part of life. So do not feel sad about the fact that I will not be here forever. I am not going away. I intend to stay exactly where I am. The process you see as my death, is simply me slowly transferring bits and pieces of my soul to other beings. So they may live and carry a little bit of me within them. So that I can finally be free of what you see as my limitations.
I will live. My memories are my present to the soil that has sustained me all my life. My spirit will return to the otherworld, and return anew in a different form. No, little one I am not dying. For even in you will I live on. Carry my voice so that it can be heard by a generation of human children. Then bring your own offspring and let them play between my roots, as you once did, so that we may learn to dance again.
And then reconsider who of us is most fully alive.
Text and images by Beith.
Beith is a druid who likes to wander through the forest, inviting the trees to be her teachers in life. She also runs a personal blog about her druid journey, that can be found at wandering-the-woods.com.
In real life she’s a mathematician, trying to walk the boundary between the rational and the irrational.