I was out doing my usual morning jog except this morning I was in Orlando, Florida at a Disney World resort instead of Chicago. I turned on to a shady path and noticed a sign at the base of a little knoll about 10 feet high. The sign asked one to look at the magnificent tree above and be impressed that people were able to have uprooted this tree and its ”companion” from their places of origin. The companion was taken to another Disney site and this beautiful tree stood alone on the knoll. I stood breathless at its grandeur and its ability to have survived the reality that 18 years ago men actually uprooted this 85 ton tree and transferred it 13 miles over a period of 3 weeks and replanted it. The sign is easy to see as it is at eye level along the path. The tree requires one to make the effort of looking up. I was told that it was believed Oak Tree was over 100 years old.
Great Oak remained silent and distant as I stood there admiring him. My heart opened up to this tree sensing its loneliness. Slowly it let me come closer and I climbed the little knoll. I stood close to it looking up its huge trunk into its branches. I was in awe of its strength and fortitude that allowed it to survive and thrive regardless of this incomprehensible trauma. My heart began to feel sad thinking about Great Tree’s journey. He had lost his home, friends, and family. In a little while Great Oak softened and let me touch his trunk. I was permitted to embrace Tree and merge with it. Oak Tree began to talk. “No one has ever really noticed me. They might glance at me and keep walking as if I was just another leaf or a blade of grass.”
I told him about my trees at home and asked if he would like to meet them. I talked about a Vision Quest that I was going on and would it like to talk to the trees in NM and tell them we had met and I would be coming to spend time with them. Great Oak felt pleased to be included and was happy to talk to the trees and introduce me and let them know I would be coming in March. I sensed that he made contact swiftly with the trees in NM, my home and in the near by park.
I asked if it would give me some direction in relation to Vision Quest as my preparatory work was very hard.
“Remember me and stand tall and have deep roots.
And know that I will always be with you.”
I was deeply touched. I remained awhile admiring all of it and asked if it would like to meet my family. It was apparent it knew them already but would be happy to meet them. I went off to find them. My grandchildren came back with me. Oak Tree was right on. The 9 year old glanced up and moved on quickly, my 12 year-old grandson stayed a little longer and took in what he needed at a glance. His twin sister came up and touched the tree and stayed for a brief time. My son came and looked at the tree and my daughter in law really did not want to have anything to do with this living, talking marvel.
The next day I awoke anxious and distressed. Do I want to visit the tree again or not…? I am already feeling as if I will be leaving it and never to meet again. OK, I will go back. I felt so miserable. Ancient one looked at me as I went up to embrace him. The tree spoke again:
“Embrace what is yours,
Let go of what is not yours,
Be grounded in your roots and
as flexible as the branches in the wind”
I stayed for awhile leaning against the tree. At breakfast my son was curious to hear what wisdom the tree offered today. “That is good information. I can relate to that. The kids wanted to go visit the tree for awhile. Though they did not seem to pay attention to Great Tree they wanted to play near it and glanced its way occasionally.
The next morning and last day of our visit, I stopped to say good morning and the tree had pulled in and put a shield about it. I asked what was wrong. The past 2 days had been chilly and the swimming area and slide were not being used. But today they already had the noise of the pumps pushing the “water fall” and the children and parents yelling and having fun but no one noticed Oak Tree. It spoke of the noise being irritated. It would rather be quiet in its own space and not have to deal with all of the noise. I knew just what it was talking about as I too would rather be in my own quiet space than dealing with noise and chaos. Great Oak Tree had much in common it seemed.
Two months have passed and Great Tree comes to visit frequently and invites me to hug him and to feel his long arm come and hold me.
Contributed by Marcia Bregman