The Wise Tree
By Amy Scurria
On a path, in the middle of a hill, above a lake, grows the Wise Tree. The Wise Tree has many eyes. I don’t know what tree experts would call them. I’ve never been much for names. Everything living is so much more than it’s name.
When I met the Wise Tree, I had many questions. Questions are a funny thing. When you live your way into an answer, you often find yourself with many more questions.
This is what growing is about. Trees know a lot about this.
If you are quiet enough and you are willing to open your soul, it’s possible to hear the trees in conversation. It was during one of my walks, on a path, in the middle of a hill, above a lake, that I first heard the trees in conversation. Even when, 30 years later, science agreed with me that the trees are in conversation, there are still people who don’t listen.
Trees have so much to teach us. But too few of us are willing to listen. We are too interested in when the trees are “in the way”, or how we can use the trees for some THING that could be acquired in a better way. We are the most innovative species and yet, we still kill the trees.
The Wise Tree was a particularly quiet tree. It was the only one of its kind in a dense forest, on a path, in the middle of a hill, above a lake. When I listened to the Wise Tree, I heard a sort of quiet peace. A quiet wisdom. And so, during my daily walk, when I came upon the Wise Tree, I stopped. Every time, I stopped. I offered my questions. Sometimes one. Sometimes many. The tree always listened.
I walked with my cat, Oliver. We walked on to our sitting trees. Mine hung over the lake and I could stand on her trunk and look to the right to see her branches, with sparkles of the sun kissing the lake peeking through her leaves, like a game of hide and seek. I could look down and into the lake, as far as her water would allow me. I could look up and out to see the sky. She had a standing branch for my feet and a branch to lean on. I could stand on her for hours. Oliver would pass my tree and climb to his tree. His tree grew at an angle, at the end of the path, in the middle of a hill, above a lake. He could climb it easily and quickly. He would perch on his branch and sit with me until I was ready to return home. I always wondered what he could see from his sitting tree. Perspective is an interesting thing.
Almost always, on the way home, Oliver asked to be carried, using his voice for his request. And then, like the arms of the trees, I would cradle him over my shoulder and he would ride home, watching our sitting trees disappear in the distance.
Halfway home, I would greet the Wise Tree again. She always stood ready to offer her answers. Trees are talking all of the time. It takes practice to hear them. And you have to be willing to listen with more than your ears. Sometimes, I would touch her eyes. And I would feel her peace. And I would listen for her answers. She always offered answers. Many times, it was reassurance to trust myself. She reminded me to keep my feet grounded like her roots. To always reach high like her branches, drinking from the sun. To always stand with strength like her trunk. But mostly, she taught me that, like her, though she stood as the only one of her kind, in that forest, along a path, in the middle of a hill, above a lake, she was never alone. And neither was I.
Copyright 2023 by Amy Scurria. All Rights Reserved.