Lately I have been taking some spring walks through our monastery woods. I have watched the trees awaken in their budding and greening. It’s a marvelous transformation. I have been thinking a lot about the trees that greet me on my walk. What can I learn from trees? They’ve been around a lot longer than I have, so probably quite a bit. Trees are incredible creatures that we often overlook -- considering the fact that they are among the primary members of our planet providing us with enough oxygen to survive. If we can become quiet and attentive enough, we realize that trees can tells us many stories of wisdom and awareness that apply to our everyday lives. As silent teachers, trees have much to share, so take a walk in your favorite woods or forest and open your heart and mind for lessons on life.
As I ponder and wonder at the trees around me I have to believe trees share the wisdom of community and how they fit. We know that trees live where they are for tens, hundreds and sometimes even thousands of years. They accept where they are planted, the things they cannot change and continuously work to help themselves and those around them thrive. The nature of trees is to collaborate with those around them to co-create an environment that is beneficial for all its creatures, as they are inherently aware of the interconnectedness of everything. This is a very large and honorable concept, but can be boiled down to: we are interdependent people – we need each other.
Lastly, trees are vulnerable creatures. Wild storms and extreme weather conditions can make trees dance wildly and naturally uproot. Other trees are vulnerable to humans’ wishes and whims. Yet, through all of this, some survive the test time and time again. The amazing miracle is that nothing is wasted in life. For trees (and all of nature, really) waste does not exist. Everything has a purpose; debris and dead plants become soil for new seeds to sprout on, new plants become food for another creature that fertilizes other plants. Essentially, there is nothing new, because nothing is ever thrown away. If we realize that we are also made out of materials from those that came before us, perhaps our appreciation for this life and its wonders will grow. Take a walk in nature and ponder its wisdom.
Trish Dick, OSB