Last Autumn I was invited by a Zen group with which I’m associated to celebrate ‘suchness’ by spending some time every day outdoors in a green setting where there are trees. The idea is to be still, to allow thoughts to be suspended and just be with the trees. I walk on the common most days and I found this invitation heightened my awareness. I decided quite soon to adopt one particular tree to ‘be’ with.
It’s an oak tree, possibly around my age, so quite young for an oak, but not really remarkable except that it stands alone and has a number of trunks coming from the base which allow a person to stand within the tree and feel embraced by it.
Last Autumn was a turbulent time emotionally as my daughter got married and my mother died within the same few weeks but I found visiting my tree very soothing. Whatever is happening in my life and whatever the weather, it is simply there, just being alive. Sometimes it’s full of birds, families of tits searching for insects, once it was full of small children playing and climbing in the lower branches. On occasions I stand within and everything is quite quiet, and sometimes there is a persistent rustling of dry leaves that haven’t fallen. It’s always the same and always different and that is very comforting.
Is there a tree that you pass quite regularly? Say hello and make it your friend, it will always be there for you and you’ll be amazed at how you’ll look forward to seeing it!