Comforting Words: Tree Medicine

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tree Medicine

Sitting at the window seat towards the back of my #43 bus, I was blankly staring out the window until the upright uniformity of the trees caught my attention.

The section of the city where I reside always reminds me of another tree lined city, Kiev; another cross road in my life and this morning was no different.

Much earlier, I had sought inspiration from a televangelist who from time to time has just the message to lift my spirit. However, his message missed the mark this morning and so there I was staring out the window of the bus, gradually noticing the trees along the route.

The trees here reminds me of Kiev – the Ukrainian capital where my daughter was born. Kiev was also the city where I once thought that things could not get any worse than they had after the stillbirth of my first child and the death of my marriage. At my lowest point, my only solace was to walk the tree-lined streets of the city praying to a God who I swore had disowned me because of all wrongs I had done.

As I looked out the bus window at the trees along this southern street in Edmonton, I knew God was not only very present but is with me. The trees told me so.

Every tree that we passed hailed out to me, seriously, saying, “Never mind the wind, you stand tall like us, hold your head up, stretch your arms out like our branches, reach for the sky girl!”

The wind of change and uncertainty has been blowing strong in my life and there have been days when it feels as if it will break me. Paying closer attention to what the trees were saying to me, I almost pasted my nose to the window.

What I noticed was that although many of their branches were bent, some severely so, each tree seemed to be reaching upward, increasingly laden with new leaves, in celebration of spring and life.

“Oh my God,” I thought, “they seem to be praising and giving thanks to God!”

Goethe once said:
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather.”

That was the lesson the trees of Kiev and now Edmonton were teaching me. That was what that fortune cookie message meant by nature being one of the greatest physicians.

The wind of life can be mighty but it cannot take away our power to decide to give thanks and praise nor can it take away our decision to be happy – no matter what.

Getting off the bus at the hospital, I placed my usual call to Juds to say I had arrived and to her “Have fun,” my response was “I will.”




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