A.J. Dickinson has kindly drawn attention to the inspiring thoughts below from Shepherd Bliss of the Dominican University of California. They are extracted from a longer article on the nature of trees,
which can be found here….
Shepherd Bliss writes: Years ago I made a promise to try to plant as many trees as I have consumed. That would be a lot of trees, since I have read many books, lived in wooden houses, and used nearly seventy years of toilet paper. Though I have planted hundreds of trees, I may never achieve that goal. Some goals are worthy, even if never achieved. How many trees do you think you have consumed? How many have you planted?
The ancient Greek god Pan is one of the divinities who offers blessings to trees. While at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland I once sat without voice or movement beneath a tree in the woods for hours with the intention of seeing one of the little people. And see one I did…
Have you ever seen a sick forest? It is not a pretty sight. I recently walked in one with forty members of my Veterans’ Writing Group. A blight had struck the eucalyptus forest.
Imagine a world without trees. The Amazon is the Earth’s lungs, along with all the other trees. They make the oxygen we need to survive. Without trees, there would be no humans. Trees bring more than fruit and beauty. They create the oxygen we need to survive.
Trees protect and provide habitat and comfort. Blessings to them for all that they do.
This unconditional ground on which I recline, looking upward into the sky, always provides.
May we listen to the forest guardians – like poison oak – and keep our human selves and our pollution out of certain areas.
Your ancient air, beneath the infinite sky, infuses all our cells.
May we honor the winged-ones, the four-leggeds, and the crawling ones, including the maligned skunks, vultures, snails, and bats.
Thank you for these outreached branches, strong enough for us to climb and swing from, receiving us. After a day out among the trees, I think that when I get back home I will climb up a couple of my favorite trees. A sturdy wind has bent them downhill and made them even easy for an elder like me to climb into them.
You have not abandoned us. May we not abandon you. You keep us alive, alive, so alive. May we realize that by walking in the woods we are walking in beauty.
Thank you for your perpetual embraces. You give so much – nutrition, cover, beauty, protection, paper, firewood.
Trees are so hardy, yet so fragile.
We eat of your plenty. May we learn to give back more, and take less.
A long, long time ago, after crawling from the sea onto the shore and then moving deeper within the woods, we climbed down from you. We swinging four-leggeds then stood up and became two-leggeds. May we remember the long-ago homes you provided us, and still provide.