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Madrona - Day 4: The Naked Ladies

It is raining rather hard. But I can’t let simple discomfort interfere with my commitment to the Madrona. Dolly and I headed out on the half hour walk to see if its tree enchanted world would be dimmed by the downpour.

I am learning that this tree has a deep history in the area. The director of the premier arts organization here, Centrum, whose offices are just down the hill from the tree, told me its original logo was this Madrona. He wished it still was. It would be fitting that an arts organization would choose a tree. The word Academy or academia comes from Greek Akademia “grove of Akademos, a legendary Athenian whose name means “of a silent district, whose estate was the enclosure beneath trees where Plato taught.

I have heard many stories that this Madrona is many children’s favorite tree. I have heard of proposals and couplings and ceremonies conducted under its limbs and within its 13 trunks. Sure enough, despite the rain, when I arrived at the tree, there was a wedding just ending. They had strung up wreaths on the limbs, which rotated slowly in the wind. Perhaps it was just decoration, or maybe it represented the large hoops of life the newlyweds were just entering. These hoops formed a portal through which to see the world anew.

As the people left and I went inside its bowl, I saw that my altar had not been disturbed and that they had left a cup of wine. Perfect! That was the missing ingredient: to pour an ablution to the tree and into the earth as a blessing.

The rain had made the trunks slick, luminous, sexy. One of the contributors to the Indiegogo campaign, told me his grandfather calls Madronas, “the naked ladies.” I understand why.

While I sat, I noticed a caterpillar on my leg. This caterpillar has come to me three times now. The first was the first day Jo and I set up the altar and did prayers for the tree. She noticed it on the trunk. And twice since it has climbed onto my body as I sat. Caterpillar, a medicine messenger for me to soften into this journey and this new phase of my life. What will I become as this tree adventure continues while I travel with the Madrona over the next 26 days?

Tree Haiku – Day 4

Caterpillar Comes

I sit at the base of sweet tree

Beginnings, Arise!

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