The Mystery of Trees

The philosophical writer Khalil Gibran wrote in The Shadow,

Upon a June day the grass said to the shadow of an elm tree, “You move to right and left over-often, and you disturb my peace.”

And the shadow answered and said, “Not I, not I. Look skyward. There is a tree that moves in the wind to the east and to the west, between the sun and the earth.”

And the grass looked up, and for the first time beheld the tree. And it said in its heart, “Why, behold, there is a larger grass than myself.”

And the grass was silent.

Step into Shasta
Camping on Mt. Shasta in October, 2014.

This earth existence is made up of fractals, a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. If you study a tree, as Leonardo Da Vinci did, you will notice that if a tree trunk splits off into three main branches, each of those branches will be one third the size of the trunk and each 1/3 segment will, itself, split off into thirds again, each section is an exact replica of the parent section of the bigger tree. The fractals continue until the top, where the youngest branches will still be breaking into three sectional replicas of the bigger tree. Kind of awesome, if you ask me.

You see, I’ve always been in love with trees. As a child, I would get “lost” in the small key lime tree grove in our back yard. I would talk to the trees and to the butterflies until play time was over. A few years later, in another house, I would rake leaves under the big banyan tree in our back yard and flop under the branches to “meditate with nature” and catch up on my book reading.

As an adult, I longed for a home with trees, but Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma did a number on the two young trees at our townhouse in South Florida. I was never able to replace them. But I’m following trees now. My most recent fascination is the old cottonwood tree family I parked under in Farmington, New Mexico. The older two were over a hundred years old, but scattered under their branches were smaller family members. The owner of the trees told us that all cottonwoods are related, and, as we traveled back West to Chinle, Arizona, we again found a camping spot in a campground of cottonwood trees. I felt at home.

I’m in love with trees. I will often walk up to them, place my hand on their trunk, and talk of its massive beauty. Go ahead and call me Crazy Tree Lady! I’m never alone with trees.

Then I watched a recent video that’s blowing up YouTube, There are No Forests on Flat Earth Wake Up, by Людин Рɣси (I think he’s Russian because his accent reminds me of Star Trek’s Chekov.)

I will never see the Earth the same. The American landmarks he uses in this to illustrate his point are landmarks I’ve visited several times, Mount Shasta, the Petrified Forest, Monument Valley, heck, even the Hopi Mesas.

I remembered the story El Juglador and I wrote, The Parable of the Great Tree, and I felt a great connection with Mother Earth once more.

Once upon a time, the Monkey King sat at the peak of the Great Tree that reached into the clouds in order to commune with his eldest son.

“My son, you have grown of age. I must now tell you of your inheritance. This tree is our life force. Our family uses it for sustenance – its branches support us; its coverage protects us; its fruit nourishes us. But it needs us, as well. It is our function to protect it from parasites that threaten to kill. … (follow link for full blog.)

We’re beginning to wake up now, and, this morning on Mount Shasta again, I hear Gaia breathing a sigh.

The Dragonfly’s Writer