June 2018 | TREES TALK: Have You Listened? By SALLY CHURGEL

A friend, Sally Churgel, shared this experience on a walk, and later wrote it down.

You can talk to the trees. Well, you can talk to anything. But trees will answer back. It’s true. However, you will have to quiet your mind enough to listen.

That’s what I discovered at the top of the steep climb to Richardson Grove State Park, Northern California. I stood about ten yards in front of the massive girth of an old growth redwood tree that had captured my attention. First, I asked permission to approach. I heard, or felt, a yes. All conversations with trees can be done silently in the mind. Holding my arms out as though sleep walking, I slowly approached. When I felt a slight resistance in the field of energy between this magnificent being and my hand, I stopped. It felt like a request to stop or a sense of needing to stop. I waited. I asked if I could step closer. The sense that I was being held at bay and needed to stop disappeared and I proceeded. I repeated this action three times until I could touch this living being.

I turned my back and leaned into a nook. I felt welcome and fully received. The first message I sent was a thank you for its willingness to talk to me. I then asked, “Is there anything you need from me?” The answer came immediately, “Ground yourself.” Actually, it came as an image.  I saw my legs, or the energy of my legs, drop down and down, well below the widespread solid roots of the Sequoia. It felt like an invitation to root myself deep into the earth.

“What can I do to find relief from my current irritation?”

I had been grieving the recent death of my father. The approach of Mother’s Day gave me a pang as it has every year for the past decade. The loss of my mother and the additional sorrow at not having had a child hurt fresh again.  Even the current amazing transition I was in had raised many fears. I had just ended the era of an abusive marriage and subsequent decade of singleness, and completed my first month living with my beloved. I was fearful of repeating old patterns and in constant irritation from the weight of my grief and fears.

The tree sent me an image that I understood immediately. It was a memory of a peak spiritual experience I had in my early 20’s. I had been mediating on the hard porch floor of a little wooden cabin in the redwoods. The rain had just stopped. Drops were continuing to fall from the branches in a rhythmic rate, a slow drum beat thrum. The sound of my heartbeat. My mantra fell away and all I heard was pit-a-pat on the roof of the cabin.

Suddenly, I felt the sense of “I” expand. I was at the top of the redwoods. Or I was the treetops. The gray clouds had given way to blue sky. Then the blue sky gave way to a brilliant white light.

I was looking at the light.

I was inside the light.

I was the light.

For a lifelong second, I hung suspended in this blissful moment. My oneness with the light contained no thought. No sensations of the body. Light and peace and I was all. And then an excitement filled me. A thrill. “Wow.” The thought brought me instantly back into the “I” that was sitting on the hard floor in front of the wooden cabin in the redwoods with rain drops dancing on the eves.

That moment has never repeated in all the hours I have meditated since.

The Sequoia, at Richardson State Park, showed me one last image. The white light flowed down to my heart to meet the upward reach of the dark loamy earth. It seemed to say:

Let the root of the earth and the light meet in your heart. Ground the reality of your day to day life with the mystical union of all that is. Your fears and sorrow will rest in the earth and your heart will be lightened. Remember the truth of life. We are one with all. We think we are separate. We think there is an “I” that is meditating, that is different from the I that is part of, and the same as, the white light.

The experience I shared with the Sequoia reminded me that I wasn’t any different from it or from the light. There is a place in my heart to rest between my damp sorrows and my cold fears. The place that contains, and is, earth and light.

You can read her own account at this link.

I feel that I’m one of thousands of seeds sprouted by the Earth in this time of need.You, no doubt, are another such seed!
We are currently accepting submissions of your Earth-Love experiences to be published in an upcoming issue. Perhaps, you could take 5 minutes to jot down one of your experiences or send a photo with a short commentary to this link. Thank you so much.
Photo courtesy of Richardson Grove State Park.
About three years after this interview, I came across this quote from Walking Buffalo, Stoney in a remarkable book, Indian Spirit, edited by Michael Oren Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald (2006): 
“…Did you know that trees talk? Well, they do. They talk to each other, and they’ll talk to you if you listen. Trouble is, white people don’t listen. They never learned to listen to the Indians so I don’t suppose they’ll listen to other voices in nature. But I have learned a lot from trees: sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit.”
Dripping Grace

My ears fill with

     dripping, dancing

drops, although it’s

     June in California.

The light gray sky

     without a break

drapes over redwood

     peaks and oaks.

A whisper of leaves

     among red-leafed plum,

catkin strands, wild

     swaying oats, rain-soaked

darkened deer.

Strings of Shining Silence

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