Lessons from Trees


As a person who lives and works on the waterfront, it is hard to ignore the pace at which the natural world moves. When I wake up in the wee hours of the morning to work, I see the night heron quietly fishing. Her stance is that of a graceful statue focusing intently on her task. If she moves, she moves in slow motion, not even creating a ripple in the water. I look to her and think, yes this is the way to be. Focused on our present task, quietly waiting for the perfect juicy moment to arrive. Her movements, mindful and purposeful. Nothing is done without meaning, her dance with the marsh, a walking meditation.

Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” When I look at the natural world around me, I see lessons and miracles everywhere. On a trip to Sonora Pass recently, I saw two dissimilar trees, intertwined with one another, not seeming to disagree, this is the way they chose to grow. They share resources, water, sunlight, the breeze that flows through their branches. These trees co-exist. I saw this beautiful relationship and realized that they are teaching us something. They are teaching us to love, relate, share, be compassionate. For although they are different types of trees, at the end of the day they are both trees who need all of the same things to survive.

We, as humans, are the night heron and the intertwined trees. We have the capacity, just as they do, to be still and to see one another kindly. To co-exist. As I look at what is happening at the US- Mexico boarder, I feel devastated. Human kind is better than this deplorable shit show. We have a choice to be kind. We have the opportunity to choose to do that which comes naturally to these other beings. Perhaps one day we will be as intelligent as trees and birds. Until then, we must remain awake to our surroundings. Look to the creatures around us for our clues: how to be today? How to be in this moment? If we look they will patiently tell us the answer, over and over again.