Seriously, have you ever hugged a tree? Sure, no one wants to earn the reputation of being a “tree hugger,” after all, that might qualify you as being one of those lowly “earth muffins.”  You know, the folks so out of touch with nature that they believe in such things as little fairies and hobbits hiding in the forests.


Well, I haven’t seen any fairies yet, but I will admit to hugging trees. The ones I hug are normally those that have stood longer than a hundred years, some over half a century.  It is hard to understand, but when I wrap my arms around a tree, one so large that my embrace isn’t even near half way around, there is a undescribable  feeling that comes over me.  It is like I can feel the age of the tree being transformed deep inside my soul.  It may be cliché to say I am one with the tree, as I also feel at one with the river, but all the same, it works for me.

It is akin to standing before all within my view with open arms, that being a part of everything I see soon sinks into my consciousness of connectedness. With my upper limbs spread wide and reaching high towards the heavens, I feel like a human funnel pulling in all of the universe.

One  of my favorite trees is so ancient that it has several limbs, each one of which has the diameter of a tree more than 30 inches dbh. (diameter at breast height) in a foresters perspective.  I once took the string off my long bow (over 5′ long) to wrap around its trunk. I forget now the precise measurement, but it was more than two end-to-end string lengths worth of wrap. I love that tree, and visit it every time I pass it by.  It is a great place to rest, as its safety from the saw is its vast deepness  into the wilderness, thus a  physical boundary far to reach. But more importantly, it lives on in  a legal refuge of protection.

It is easy for me to see why and how indigenous  people developed the concept of the sacred tree of life. When people gathered under the Sacred Tree, they could find security and healing.  The roots penetrate deeply into mother earth and the branches reach high into father sky.  Compassion, wisdom, and love for all things come from the fruit.  This tree of life is the life of the people. If they stray too far from the shadow of the tree,  and  forget to seek its nourishment , or destroy it,  a great sorrow will result.  The tree will turn from green to red and become uprooted. This happens when the people forget how to know what truth is.

As long as the tree lives, so live the people.  Not knowing truth leads to quarrelling and a division between people. It is easy to fall out of harmony with all else in the world. Not all trees are meant for cutting down, some are meant for hugging. Just as people are not meant to be divided or cut off from one another. Community means all living things collectively, and does not just pertain to people. As for me, I will continue seeking the grandfather shadows hundreds of  years old and hug their furrowed bark of a round and secure truth.

Some people hug trees, some trees hug people.
What do you embrace, and what embraces you?


Gary & Barb
(inside the wisdom of a great grand fir along the banks of Oregon’s  Grande Ronde River)

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