Once I had imagined that my journey would be like the Pilgrim’s Progress, where each adventure brings the hero closer to the heavenly city, but the Christian God with whom I had been intoxicated in my teenage years did not survive the theological studies I undertook to serve him (and it was a him). When I turned outward, angry and heartsick, to political affairs, I found that I was a failure as an atheist, too, for I could not cure myself of praying to a God I no longer believed in.
~ Joanna Macy, from the preface to Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
I am the one whose praise echoes on high.
I adorn all the earth.
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am led by the spirit to feed the purest streams.
I am the rain coming from the dew
that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I am the yearning for good.
~ Hildegard Von Bingen
Words act as a compass. Place speech serves literally to enchant the land; to sing it back into being and to sing one’s being back into it.
~ Robert Macfarlane
The Oak tree is one of the most loved trees in the world, and with good reason. It’s a symbol of strength, morale, resistance and knowledge. Throughout history, the Oak has been represented in different mythologies and sometimes linked to powerful gods (in Greek mythology it was a symbol of Zeus, the God of Thunder.) The oak is considered a cosmic storehouse of wisdom embodied in its towering strength. It grows slowly, but surely at its own rate. Oak is often associated with honor, nobility, and wisdom as well thanks to its size and longevity. Oaks are known to easily surpass 300 years of age making it a powerful life-affirming symbol.
~ from the Bios Urn website
Peace is this moment without judgment. That is all. This moment in the Heart-space Where everything that is is welcome.
~ Dorothy Hunt
But we shouldn’t be concerned about trees purely for material reasons, we should also care about them because of the little puzzles and wonders they present us with. Under the canopy of the trees, daily dramas and moving love stories are played out. Here is the last remaining piece of Nature, right on our doorstep, where adventures are to be experienced and secrets discovered. And who knows, perhaps one day the language of trees will eventually be deciphered, giving us the raw material for further amazing stories. Until then, when you take your next walk in the forest, give free rein to your imagination-in many cases, what you imagine is not so far removed from reality, after all!
~ Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees
Would the valleys were your streets and the green paths your alleys,
that you might seek one another through vineyards,
and come with the fragrance of the earth in your garments.
~ Khalil Gibran, The Prophet