Photo: My Favorite Tree Gateway by J. Wilder Bill
Trees provide lasting impressions in our lives. All they ask of us is that we embrace their energy.
There is a magnificent red brick mansion on an elaborate road lined with manicured lawns and blooming trees. On the west side of the property, five trees along the brick road frown at me as I drive by. A flash of sadness, a smack of pain, a slam of discontentment, unrest and then a bleak finale. Each time my mood plummets as I’m confronted by the barrier of trees.
I knew by the faces in the trees the family is suffering. I thought perhaps a child is ill, or the couple is unhappy. The trees are recording and relaying their desperate cries.
We share a beautiful bond with trees. But like many, one of my childhood fears involved their coming to life, their long branches trapping me before I could escape. Plenty of fairy tales document incidents where a unknowing child is attacked in the woods after dark.
I grew up with an adventurous family, and my oldest brother’s joy was camping trips on the farm. His goal was spend seven days without seeing or hearing any evidence of civilization. His quest translated into our only eating what we caught during the night and sleeping on the ground. No water bottles, music, plates, flashlights, blankets or long Johns. Just us, lying on the dirt, with a fire that hopefully didn’t burn out so the bears kept their distance. Chiggers congregated in the thousands and they were especially attracted my sweet skin, compliments of my mother’s obsession with homemade baked goods. My duty was to carry the game. One night, when the bag ripped, dozens of frogs landed in the sludgy bottom of the lake. I found these outings a wonderful motivation for my earliest fasts.
Under the ominous silhouette of the forest, my brother told ghost stories about Native Americans burning down settlers’ homes with families inside while the men were out hunting. To this day, if you listen closely you can hear the wives and children’s cries carried time immortal by the trees.
Walking through the night allowed me to know how alert the birds remain after sundown, how peacefully cows stand in a pitch-dark pasture, and how the wind causes water drops trapped by the canopy of leaves to rain down harder than a storm. In the woods, the trees became animated. This was the first place I noticed the expressions of trees.
According the Vastu Living by Kathleen Cox, “we … honor nature because, like us, it is an expression of the five basic elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth.” Trees record the words spoken and the emotional outbursts far longer than we care to be reminded. Their cells absorb the vibration of the moods nearby. If the dominant emotion expressed is joy, the trees are vibrant and bountiful. If the dominant emotion expressed is sadness, the trees project their message of lower energy. The roots accumulate the signals of any pain and remorse emitted by people fighting and arguing on the property above them. Words linger long after the emotions of the person speaking dissolves.
“The element of fire in plants is life-giving,” Cox explains “Tall trees … should also be on the west to help retain the positive energy …. and help block the wind.” After the barrier trees felt suffering long enough to grow frowns, the family who lived there were in the news. Inside the magnificent home, the father experienced financial stress. He appeared to have anger issues left over from his childhood due to his having been adopted by wealthy merchants. His wife alleged he was abusive and left with the children. Within a year, the man committed suicide.
Although inscrutable on the surface, trees tell stories about the situations surrounding them. They mirror love and they respond to sadness. Scientists confirm how trees react negatively to certain vibrations. When exposed to harsh sounds, trees shrivel and die. Then again, trees react in a positive way when exposed to classical music, the singing of a happy child and comforting words spoken when they are watered.
“Without the harmonious presence of the five elements … we can never establish a lasting harmony for ourselves,” provides Cox. Science has shown, the words spoken or sung in a plant’s environment improves their health. Cheerful tones inspire better absorption of the nutrients, and negative tones are directly associated with plants shriveling and dying. The Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters set out to prove this finding wrong. The samples placed in a silent greenhouse suffered, unlike the samples given identical conditions, but with sounds.
If you look closely you can see the spirit of a tree. In my fantasy novel, the trees remember every word spoken throughout history. They never forget. The roots of the trees carry the messages across the globe. There are no secrets on our planet because the trees collect our words, but then again, trees also spread comfort. This is why we heal emotionally and spiritually when we spend time in nature amongst peaceful trees.