Posted by: Michael George Daniel | September 12, 2008

Cry of the Earth

I quite consciously asked the natural area for its permission to engage. It was a beautiful morning, about 830 AM. The calmness called to me: I had received my answer. The sun was breaking through the row of Hemlock to the east, namelessly throwing long patches of golden warmth; a plant fragrance, connection. Breath, connection. The spiral organization of the leathery leaves of the Smoke Bush held my attention. Connection. I am attracted to the beautiful organization of the leaves around the stem. Holding the branch so I am looking directly at the end of the branch, the stem is just a dot and the roundish, red leaves are staggered in layers around it. They are not perfectly organized, but, rather, randomly produce a beautiful pattern. I am attracted to the beauty of the pattern and have feelings of wanting my life to reflect the balance displayed.

I have been experiencing a trough of depressed energy and feelings for nearly a week now. I am attracted to this activity in part to seek some relief from the mental anguish. In the front yard there are two trees known as Silver or, I think, Swamp Maple. The branches of these trees make pretty patterns, long, curvaceous and powerful branches splaying out from a short, central trunk and crowned with a thick shell of leaves. This species is also known for the weakness of the wood and branches. The trees often suffer from breaking limbs. Of the two trees, one is struggling. I am drawn to the healthier tree. I admire its powerful limbs, touching the elbow, feeling the lichens and moss. Looking up into the canopy, I silently connect with the tree. I am attracted to being near it, being supported by it and communing with it. We decorated this tree with those funny looking eyes, noses and mouths you can get to attach to the trunk. The result is an odd face that anthropomorphizes the tree. This seems to have its benefits and drawbacks in that I am sensitized to the tree as a unique living entity, yet, in projecting human qualities on it, I risk missing its inherent value and beauty.

The eyes had fallen off the trunk, so I replaced one that I could find. The tree was winking at me. I looked over at the other, apparently less healthy tree. It called to me saying, ‘you must come and see how I am doing.’ I moved close to it, circling the trunk, looking at the side that has become infested with ants, as well as its good side, looking up into the thinning branches. Every couple of months large branches come down, typically in wind, rain or snow storms. I then wordlessly clean up the branches using a machete to reduce everything to manageable sizes. I do not regret the current status of the tree. I don’t know if it is good or bad or neither, this apparent dying process of this tree. I am open to having it unfold as it will. It is clear that the best thing for me to do is to support its process without needing to know how it should go – should it die or be heavily pruned in the hopes that it would spring forth again? Right now the tree, though perhaps sick from one perspective, is full of a community of life – insects, feasting woodpeckers, lichens and mosses. We still have a rope swing attached to a sturdy branch that had been ‘cabled’ at sometime during the tree’s life.

I tried to understand if there was anything I should do for this tree. I asked and listened for a reply. I was too close to it and had to step away so I could see its wholeness. As I stepped away, I immediately understood why. I could see the energy emanating through the tree – rising, spraying out of the ground; a beautiful, unique expression. Even as I write this, I am beginning to cry again. It was easy to see that I could, perhaps, complement the process of this tree by being sensitive to this energetic expression. Yes, some pruning of those branches that didn’t seem coherent with this great, beautiful bursting forth would be okay. I sat nearby looking at the tree, thinking about my own process, the uniqueness and, sometimes, struggle of my own expression and fulfillment. I began to weep.

After this cleansing process, I thanked the tree profusely; ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’. I am working with a program of natural sensory connection called Project NatureConnect and Reconnecting With Nature (RWN). I am getting a lot out of this work. During this exercise there was the experience of a little more sensory fulfillment from my natural connections. It acts as an antidote to the stress of the stories that badger me. With it, I reclaimed my ability to accept and move back into the present moment. Without this experience and ability, I would be that much less capable of coping with life. Activities that promote a sensory connection with the earth and generate supportive, good feelings is important because we can be reluctant to access the energy of our uncomfortable disconnections. Yet it is that discomfort, the psychic energy it represents, that can power healing and creative change.

As I contemplate my feelings of depression, I realize they are the tip of an iceberg: massive wells of anger, frustration and sadness. I realize these feelings are not the result of the circumstances, people, places or things that brought them to consciousness. The source of these wells of feelings go deep: to the roots of my ancestry and our society, to cultural wranglings, to historic injustices, to the cry of the earth. I am humbled by the power of these wells. It is not surprising, given the pivotal nature of the global condition. I conclude that the earth is attracting back our evolved consciousness that, necessarily, had to split from the consciousness of everything else so that it could evolve to know itself. Now we are poised at the next step, the reintegration of this self-awareness. We are attracted back for the good, continued evolution of the earth itself. It does indeed love us unconditionally – nothing is wasted, not even the legacies of our civilization.

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