Tell it to the trees
I'm tucked up in bed on a cosy winter's night, in a tiny village in Buckinghamshire called Lacey Green. I have left my bedroom curtains wide open, as I always do, so that I can glimpse the trees swaying in the wind. I'm happy to know they are there, keeping watch over me.
I adore trees. No, wait, it's more than that. I think I worship them. To me they hold mystical, magical powers that are far beyond my understanding. They are the keepers of wisdom, the keepers of truth and the all-knowing keepers of the earth. And, as I have journeyed alone from place to place, they have been my most trusted companions.
I grew up feeling insufferably lonely as a child. Many of us do. It's one of the major causes of human suffering. My friend Gary and I spoke often of the existential loneliness that we both felt at times, and how it hovered over us like a dark, black cloud. Little did I know that life is always helping us to heal our deepest wounds, through other people and through life experiences. It just happens to be that my path to healing was one where I was pushed out into the world and forced to endure excruciating periods of loneliness in foreign places.
I did everything in my power to resist the transformation that needed to happen, but finally I decided to surrender to it, and I began to embrace the wretched pain so that it would burn right through me. On my darkest days I found comfort in conversation with the trees. I sat weeping on a park bench in Germany as I told the trees about the man who had broken my heart. I wandered through woods in Vermont and wrapped my arms around the tree trunks as I mourned the death of my mother. I kissed the redwoods in California and thanked them for offering me solace at a time when I knew I had to make a painful decision.
The trees know everything about me - my most intimate secrets and stories. Truthfully, I would not have survived those lonely times were it not for the company of trees. Who would have thought how healing trees could be...tree therapy...and it's totally free!!!
If there's one thing I've learned on my travels it's this: we are never alone. We are interconnected, and nature shows that to me time and time again. My love of the natural world has deepened exponentially. It is why now I can truly languish in my time alone, yet feel totally connected to life and to all of existence. I still have my down days of feeling disconnected - it's part of the human condition - but they are much rarer now.
My relationship with nature is a relationship that I value deeply, and it's the only way I want to spend the rest of my days - meeting all the trees that offer us sacred passage as we make the most of our time on this earth. There is a Lakota proverb that says, "When a man moves away from nature, his heart becomes hard." I believe this to be true. The more we move away from nature, and our true nature, the more our stress levels rise, anxiety and depression increase, and the more disconnected and isolated we feel from ourselves and each other.
For me, the longing to live closer to nature, in communities that live in harmony with the natural laws, calls to me daily. Perhaps one day I'll get to fulfill my lifelong dream of having a tree house as my writing room, or even better I'll be living with Moonface and The Saucepan Man in the Magic Faraway Tree. You never know. :)
Trust me when I tell you this...