The solid and ethereal dead Oak Trees of Buttertub Marsh lay bare their teachings.
Listen ~ 9 minutes
I'm having a slow morning. Feeling contemplative, reflective. Wondering where things are going. By that I mean everything, my life ....
I've been thinking about those Oak Trees we saw on our walk. The dead ones. They were so beautiful. And I feel like they have stories to tell, things to teach me. They were so solid. And surrounded by all of the green trees. And yet there was something Eternal about them, stripped of of all greenery. Stark. Bare .... .... There was something .... Almost, huh, ethereal about them. And I wonder how can something be both solid and ethereal? And yet....
And yet ....
Life is so interesting, of course it is, that almost sounds trite and mundane. But it’s so true. Even with those trees, we think of trees that die in the forest, when we see them and they are decomposing, creating fertile soil for new growth. These trees don’t seem to be doing that. You almost expect to look at them and see a buzzard sitting on one of the bare branches that continues to reach to the sky. They’re like ghosts. Majestic ghosts. Continuing to hold their place.
I wonder, what is the lesson in that for me today? That even in these moments of unsurety, when I myself feel a bit like a ghost, a bit not-quite-here, between two worlds....that I am here holding my place, still me. Even in those moments where I feel stripped bare, still me.
Even surrounded by greenery, still me.
But there’s something more than that, something deeper, something about rootedness. Something about solidness. Something about waiting for the moment. Maybe the thing is that we expect, or I expect, things to happen in a certain time. This happens and then the next thing will follow and then the next. And that isn’t how life works.
Nothing, or very little, about my life, has fallen into any kind of pattern that I would have considered to be a pattern when I looked forward on my life, none of the patterns that I was taught as a child.
Those oak trees have lost their capacity to spread leaves out and gather the sun. But their roots are strong. I wonder if they’re still there connected to the network below the ground? If they still hold the wisdom, the knowledge, to share with the trees around them? They still provide, I am quite certain, some kind of shelter, some kind of food for insects. And maybe birds. Maybe other creatures as well.
I look and I see a dead tree. It seems to reduce them. Yeah, simply to reduce them. They are Oak Trees. Beautiful and mighty. Hm. And maybe it is just to acknowledge that.
Maybe they aren’t there to teach ME anything. I’m probably of no consequence to them, quite honestly. But I can admire them. I can ponder. They have given me food for thought. And of that I am grateful.... on this quiet morning of contemplation in the rain.
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