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Archive for August, 2011

Tree I slept beneath…

When I was 8 years old..that was 1958…a very significant year for many folks…I would sneak out of bed in the mild weather, when my folks were asleep and creep out to a large spruce that was in the very back of our property.

In there I had a nest of blankets and that’s where I kept all of my totems and special things. I’d sleep out there and at the first light sneak back to my bed.

In that place I was safe and I truly became the “Indian” that I believed myself to be. Out there…my blonde hair was gone and I had long dark hair and brown skin. The spruce make that so.

One night while I was out there, I saw a light coming closer and thought…”uhoh…dad is coming to find me” As the light came closer…it wasn’t dad at all, but a Native man with a torch. I lifted the heavy branch and looked out at his glowing presence.

“child…I am your great grandfather and I have an important message for you”. I wasn’t afraid…I was comforted by him. “I will always be with you in everything you do…You have a huge future ahead of you with an important path to walk. It’s called the Good Red Road and if you stumble or falter or come up against trials that you can’t imagine over coming….remember this my child….You are Up to the Task.”

With that he faded. I slept with a smile that night. And all through my life, now 60 years, I’ve always remembered his words. They’ve brought me back from death…. and beyond.

It was the tree that I slept beneath that was the energy that facilitated that night…love and peace…lynnann

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Up in a tree…

The south is home to some of the biggest live oak trees I’ve ever seen. The ones that I remember most fondly are the kind with the gigantic limbs that swoop down close, in some cases all the way, to the ground.  It was amazing growing up around these trees and experiencing them as a child. While growing up, my sister and I would climb trees almost on a daily basis. It was fun and yet magical. Every time I see a big live oak tree like that it brings back the best memories!

Fast forward many years later, I’m now in my early 20′s and still climb trees every chance I get. Their roots are set deep into Mother Earth. Being musically gifted )on Native American flute and other instruments) I wanted to write a song that captures the essence of being in that tree – carefree and joyous.

If you’re interested in hearing this song, log on to my website: http://jonnylipford.com and look for “Up in a Tree” from my most recent release, “Turn The Page.”

Hope you enjoy the story. Peace!

Contributed by Jonny Lipford

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There is no living thing quite as grand as a prairie oak, as wide as tall, standing over a prairie remnant.

Contributed by Guy C. Fraker, Bloomington ,IL

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Dance to the wind

When I was eight or so I knew a spectacular tree. It green in a large open field where multi acre lots all converged. No one seemed to own it. I loved this tree the most on windy days, where high in its branches I could move in unison with its dance to the wind. Sitting way at the top, it was as if the rest of the world melted away and all that existed was unlimited blue sky in which to dream.

Contributed by Barbara Palmer

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Becoming

even now
in the midst of spring’s
green and glorious abundances

trees whisper of the coming of winter

their voices – sweet and high
subtle murmurs in the wind

recalling long forgotten landscapes
remembering footprints and laughing children
recording the unspoken promises of lovers

ring
after ring
after ring

life’s ebb and flow…here

our Elders – earthbound only
by the circles of our mutual existence

even now
these breath-taking, life-giving magicians
dream of changing spring into summer into fall into winter

becoming and becoming and becoming…

tables and chairs
food and medicine
music and fire…

gracefully relinquishing
leaf and root and bark

surrendering all in the name of transformation

and here
leaf-fluttering and limb-creaking
they hope that you, yourself

will witness them as art
even while remembering them as trees…

Contributed by Tricia Alexander, Chicago, IL

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Photos by Jane Brown

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Trees Have Names

A Fall day in freshman biology class…Sister Mary Rita tells us to look out of the classroom window and tell her what we see. “A tree, Sister!” was the general response. “Yes, yes, yes…now what can you tell me about it?” “The bark peels off and makes a mess. My baby brother tried to eat some yesterday.” Muffled hee-hees were then silenced by a disapproving:”Thank you, Angela. Can someone else add something? Sister then points to me. “Well, the boys on Fernon Street call the seed pods itchy balls and make a game of pelting us girls walking home from school. And I can personally attest to the fact that they are itchy ’cause my brother always enjoys dropping and squashing one down my back.” More snickers followed and were quickly silenced by Sister Mary Rita’s now higher pitched voice showing exasperation and asking:”Do any of you know the NAME of this marvelous tree that provides nourishment to baby brothers and artillery for older ones? My goodness, young ladies, 14 years surrounded by Sycamore trees…she feverishly writes the name on the blackboard breaking the chalk. TREES HAVE NAMES!” And DO THEY, I thought…how apropos…Syc like sick and amore, love…image of my brother pelting me with seed pods…Sycamore=sick brotherly love. The next day Sister Mary Rita asks us if anyone can remember the name of the tree discussed the previous day…silence… then a solitary hand…mine..”Sycamore!” Sister Mary Rita smiled with relief. ;-)

Contributed by B. Gudauskas

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Redwood Grove

Andrea Penn submitted a comment in reply to Laurie Doctor’s tree story that I thought worth repeating in a post. Thanks Andrea!

Thank you for such an inspiring story – inspiring to know that such a place still exists..

For a number of years I lived in a Redwood grove on the coast of northern California. Outside my house there was an ancient stump, hollowed out by fire and time. It was home to new vegetation and some small animals, a place where I often sat to meditate and play my flute..

I loved the fog, how it meandered in and out between the tall trees, how it subtly changed everything in the forest, filling it with mystery. But my little corner was not quiet because of the roar of the Pacific Ocean and the calls of the sea lions. I remember a resident bear, a few mountain lions, some skunks, large birds.. they reminded me that I was a visitor there.

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I have visited the Primordial Forest near the coast of Oregon. The Hidden Creek Wilderness has a stand of giant Redwoods going back two thousand years.

It seems that few humans wander off the path into this overgrown untouched wilderness with Hidden Creek running through it. Even the Indians that lived along the coast and wore the bark for clothing, gathered berries and seeds from the undergrowth, were said to be afraid of the Dark Forest. Occasionally an old hunter enters the forest, carrying his rifle. The turf is moist and spongy from layers of bark and loam and old trees that have fallen over, becoming part of the ground. It is easy to take a step and sink way down. The smell is fresh and musty. The redwoods grow straight upwards, creating a ceiling at about 200 feet. There are signs of elk and bear along the river. One tree is charred by lightening, somehow burning in all this wetness. Inside this place there are no paths, and the trees are covered in moss hanging down, like old elegant clothing.

Winter wrens hop along the ground and are difficult to see. The only sound is the owl hooting. American Dippers dive in and out of the river.

Inside with the trees the silence is thick, palpable. There are no human sounds left, and not a trace of human presence. Just these ancient trees guarding memory. I say to myself, ”Nothing false can enter Here.”

Contributed by Laurie Doctor

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Photo by Pamela Paulsrud

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Some Kind of Magic

When I was 10 years old there was tree I used to climb in my backyard. It was around 50 feet tall and I could climb up 40 feet before the branches thinned out. One day I was in the tree when my mother ran out into the yard and yelled at me to get out of the tree. Her over reaction scared me, so I didn’t take the usual caution as I climbed down. I lost my balance and fell 30 feet but the branches of the tree almost seemed to catch me as I dropped through them. It was as if they curled up and wrapped around me, as though the branches passed me from one to another until I was on the ground. Outside of a few scratches I had no injuries. My mother was still yelling at me, not realizing the miracle that had taken place, but I knew some kind of magic had just happened.

Contributed by Larry Oberc, Chicago, IL

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