"To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor an to have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy."
~"Uncle Zovar : The Faithful Gardener" Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
There is a sycamore tree in our back garden. Whenever I catch a quiet moment to myself, or maybe when I'm doing the washing up I gaze at it.
Each season it gives me a new story, in it's starkness, it's fiery glory, it's tender greenness or it's carefree Summer flourish.
Whenever I feel alone or sad I am drawn to the window. The green leafed hope and life rustling like a prayer I cannot yet speak.
In the front garden grows an Ash and a Rowan.
The Ash grows right against our window. Many people have said we should cut it down but I can't.
Sometimes I can look at it and imagine that our house is within a wood. Sometimes birds come and rest on it's branches and I can see them so close, each thin fleck of feather, the delicate curves of their bodies. I am reminded of my childhood wonder again.
We are surrounded by buildings and lights on all sides. The sky is a small square framed by angles. In the evening the orange glow of the street lights spread a musky gauze so that it is hard to see the stars clearly.
I pine for a closer relationship with with the land. I want to bury my hands in dirt, feel the roots, the moistness the movement of the seasons. Be able to cup my hands in the stream and drink. Do you remember when we used to swim in ponds and rivers?
Nature was the one thing that reminded me that there was a God when I was a child. It also told me that God was good. He was a storyteller, an artist, a poet, healer.
I watched a documentary about Yellowstone last night.
After the Native people had been removed from the land, many of the first settlers arranged epic hunting expeditions that almost wiped out the wildlife.
In an attempt to save the wilderness, some environmentalists of the day argued that Yellowstone could make a great tourist destination. But first of all, they would have to kill all the wolves to make it more people friendly.
However, this was a mistake as the wolves naturally culled elk and other species which ate trees and plants such as willow which the beavers need to make their dams.
After attempting to artificially cull the elk themselves the park officials finally, reintroduced the wolf to the park. Watch the video below to see how Wolves change rivers.
Yet somehow the ecology of the wilderness was still not quite in balance and still required human modification and management.
The park managers questioned why this was. Finally they realized that the missing element was the Native people. Those whom they had first evicted! Yet those native peoples were an intrinsic part of that particular ecology, just as the wolf, the willow and the elk were!
The difference was that the Indigenous people's lived off the land in a way that could enrich it rather than harm it.
People need nature to move them, mold them, remind them of God. When our connection with nature is broken so is our connection with God. We forget to treat the earth as a living, breathing being and we harm her for things we don't really need.
The earth and us, are one and the same, just as we are part of God and He a part of us. We need each other to be whole. To be holy even.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.
- An Ute Prayer
And finally, some inspiration for a free spirited life this beautiful film "Live Before you Die"
Live Before You Die from Dreamtime Film on Vimeo.