Guest Post: By Dara Llewellyn
I felt an affinity for trees as soon as I became aware of them. I felt comforted when I touched the bark of a tree. The sparkle of sunlight filtering down through the leafy mass of foliage above me made me smile. I learned to love the wind because of the way the currents enlivened the mass of leafy branches above me. Living in the South in a forested area in the mountains, I saw trees were everywhere—maples, hickories, oaks, dogwoods, and so many more.
Naturally, when I first learned about the sacred grove of trees revered in several religions, that concept made immediate sense to me. Of course, a spiritual focus would manifest within a grove of trees. I longed to find such a grove and explored nearby forests searching for one. I never found the perfect grove but I found many trees that I felt a connection with, whether it was from touching their bark or simply sitting beneath one and enjoying its presence. I felt certain that each tree did have its own spirit.
Years later when an aging apple tree in my parents’ yard needed to be taken down, I felt such sadness. Remembering that I had once read that if a tree needed to be cut down, one should go to the tree the night before and tell it what was going to happen and why. That way, the spirit of the tree would know that it needed to leave the tree before that final moment came. The tree spirit would then come and knock on your door that evening when it had left.
Feeling whimsical and somewhat silly, I went out early the morning of the chosen day and spoke to the apple tree (knocking gently on it first), telling the tree what had to happen and why. Then I became busy with my day, was out shopping when the event occurred, and came home to fix supper, already accepting what had happened.
I did the evening dishes and when someone knocked on the front door later in the darkening evening, I automatically opened it. No one was there. I stood there surprised for a moment before remembering that the spirit would come to knock on the door when it left. I felt a calming peace settle on me and thanked the spirit and wished it well.
Today, I still feel an affinity with trees, feel their consciousness as I pass them, and rejoice in the beauty of their creation.
Thank you Dara for writing this post! You can find more of Dara’s work on her blog “Reflective Writing.”