When I am out walking, and if time and life permits, I tend to let myself wander without a particular destination. Instead, I let myself feel "led" or called to where I should go.
Whenever I do this, often times it is because there was an experience or an interaction that I was meant to have, and afterward I have learned something, or have helped or been helped in some way.
Sometimes these experiences are with people, but for me, as I am most often surrounded in Nature, this is where my lessons come from.
This past weekend I was on a camping trip with my family and we decided to take advantage of some beautiful hiking trails that were near the campground. Thick in oaks, hazel brushes, and flowering chokecherry blossoms, I was immersed in their sweet scent as I wandered while my children ran ahead.
It was just off the trail that I spotted this majestic beauty, an Oak, and immediately felt drawn to go near.
As I approached, it became apparent that this was indeed a special tree.
There was a very obvious face formed within the trunk, as well as many others forming on all sides within the bark.
Trees are able to manifest their form, and often times they choose to manifest a face. This could lend to their name, "The Standing People."
I stood in awe with this tree for a long while, my family of course coming to check it out as well.
We pointed out all the eyes and faces that we could before my kids became eager to carry on with our hike.
It is often the eyes that you will notice forming first of all, before the rest of the face takes shape.
As my son, Shep, pointed out to me then, "so they evolve, just like a Pokemon."
"Yes, exactly, Shep, just like a Pokemon character", I agreed, having just been introduced to Pokemon a couple of weeks ago. I appreciated Shep's reference to something that he is really intrigued with as of late.
I promised the tree that I would be back again in the morning, alone, and said to my family as we walked on, "That is a tree with a story to tell."
I did go back early the next morning. As I approached the Oak, I heard gentle words fill my awareness, "The older the tree, the more faces you see."
"Awe, yes, of course, because they take time to form and evolve," I replied.
I felt the welcome from the Oak, so I sat beneath his branches and closed my eyes. I placed my hand on my heart centre and breathed in and out, slowly, for a few minutes and allowed my awareness to expand while my body relaxed.
At first, I couldn't help but notice the sound of traffic, as we were less than a km away from the Trans Canada Highway.
"You never get a break from this," I said to the tree.
"I remember when there were no vehicles," replied the Tree. "All was quiet. Now, I have to imagine back to that time."
As I sank further into the awareness of the Oak, I felt how Nature was coping with the noise. She was filling herself in as thickly as she could, protecting herself.
The morning birds were singing now and the dew was illuminated upon the hazel brush leaves. The scent of the chokecherry blossoms was thick in the air.
I opened my eyes and noticed an Oak tree with a crooked trunk, not far from the Oak I was sitting beneath.
"Did she choose to grow that way?" I asked the Oak tree.
"It was not her choice," the Oak replied. I then seen an image of a cow stepping on her when she was a sapling and snapping her trunk.
The Oak continued, "She healed, because like you, these things happen for us, not to us."
I felt the acceptance of Nature, and that everything happens for a reason. Nature moves on and makes the best of what is available.
Does Nature enjoy the noise of the traffic? Of course not. But she is doing everything she can to cope with it.
I gave my thanks to the Oak and placed my hands upon his bark, caressing the faces.
"You are beautiful", I sighed before I pulled myself away.
I stepped away as gently as I could, not wanting to disturb the peace of the moment and the sanctuary that Nature was creating.
I imagined my steps falling as softly as the moccasins of the Natives Americans that would have walked this land so many years ago.
In a time when Nature was revered and we were open to her lessons. Before the constant pollution of noise and fossil fuels.
I left bigger than I was before I came, and I will never be the same.