What will happen to me if I spend 30 days with a madrona? Can I inspire others to notice a tree in their life? Will the greater community support my work? These are the central questions I am exploring. How will my life change if I come out of the closet and confess my unconditional love of a tree and express it with her and the world directly?
I came to Madonna late tonight. The wind rolled out of the forest and across the fort grounds and chilled me as it seeped through my shallow clothes. I stood in the bowl of her thirteen trunks and braced myself as I faced the gusts head on. The leaves shuttered above and rustled like a shaker in a rhumba band.
I felt my vulnerability and fragility to the elements as compared to her, these massive dense trunks anchored well into the earth. We humans have an astonishing capacity to separate, to live fractured lives apart from each other and from the environment that creates and supports us. This tree speaks to me of interconnectedness, of support as a fact of life. A tree cannot exist separately. It is rooted and inherently tied into place. We come, we go. It stays.
At a dance class recently, the leader talked about giant redwoods that tower 350 feet into the air. He mentioned their roots go down, but not all that far actually, certainly not hundreds of feet as their mass above rises. Instead of down they send their roots out laterally and run into the roots of neighboring trees. Instead of stopping or putting up fences they continue to grow and intertwine with their neighbors until they are part of an interconnected web below ground. When the winds blow the redwoods literally hold each other up.
Do we hold each other up? Probably more than we realize, but not as much as we ought to. Separation mind is a disease. Not having time for others is a fear of intimacy. Distraction from the essential is unnatural. The world needs our rootedness. To hold each other up when the winds come will be a growing necessity.