Months ago, prior to the beginning of the pandemic, I found myself in a small antiquarian bookstore. One title piqued my interest and I bought, “Getting Acquainted with The Trees” by J. Horace McFarland. This book was written in April 1904 and is a memoir of sorts. In the book, the author discusses that he had decided to spend his days getting acquainted with the trees that he walks past every day.
Here is a passage from the introduction of the book, in which the author describes how he wanted to interact with the trees. Over the course of the book, he went from a person just out and about on a walk, to an observer of specific trees throughout each season, and finally to a friend of the trees that had accompanied him on his life’s journey, “...record the growth of my own interests and information, as I have recently observed and enjoyed the trees among which I had walked unseeing far too many years. To pass on, as well as I can, some of the benefit that has come into my own life from this wakened interest in the trees...or the resting of tired brains and the healing of ruffled spirits...I have never failed to find rest, and peace and much to see and to love, among the common and familiar trees, to which I hope...may send others who also need their silent and beneficent message.”
As much as I love being outdoors and going hiking, I was fascinated by the idea of finding specific trees, spending time with them, observing them, and calling them friends. The pandemic seemed like the perfect opportunity as many parks closed down, and travel was limited to a fifteen minute radius of home. So, instead of the constant need to go further afield, to find a new place to hike, or spend half the day travelling; I instead, kept circling closer and closer to my home, Trying to find bits of nature among the urban chaos and to see how close nature was to me on a daily basis.
To take it even further, I decided that I wanted to commune with the trees on an energetic level. I spent some time learning about plant energies, tree wisdom and lore. I took a course in PlantSpeak, so that I could become attuned to each tree's energy. Now, as I walk through the woods, I tap into the energy of the trees, connect with them and offer Reiki.
At the beginning of my tree acquaintance, I had not expected to find much outside of my local park. However, places that I have never known existed have become visible, trees that I’ve never noticed have called to me and I have discovered that I have to drive less than a mile to be surrounded by my tree friends
.One day, on a whim, while driving to a highly trafficked park, I asked my husband to go down a dead end street. We were at the edges of the city limits and the most amazing thing happened. We found acre after acre of woods.
Forty years of living in this town and we had never known these woods existed. There are lightly used trails and various kinds of trees. There’s abundant wildlife, there’s fungi, lichen, a stream, silence, calm, and peace.
At sunset, one afternoon, my dog and I were treated to a display of deer running around us, jumping, and feeding. To be surrounded, on all sides, by deer and have them act as though we were just part of the scenery, was awe-inspiring.
I have found trees in local cemeteries, trees throughout the city. Trees on the sidewalk, hiking trails still inside the city limits. I have found paths where I had never seen paths before.
Just the other day, while on a dog walk, my husband and I both commented on a pine tree, located about a block from our house, that we had never seen before that moment. It wouldn’t be too shocking to miss seeing a tree, except the tree is well over forty feet tall and we walk past it on a daily basis.
I am in my second season of this year, exploring and meeting my local trees. We started our acquaintance in the summer, have started the autumn together, and I look forward to cold walks in winter to see how they survive. From McFarland’s book, on a chapter about pine trees, he writes, “But I have told of these I know best and those that any reader can know as well in one season, if he looks for them with the necessary tree love which is but a fine form of true love….This love, once implanted means surer protection for the trees otherwise so defenseless...Let us close the book and go afield, in park or meadow on street or lawn and look to the (trees) for an unsuspected feast of bloom, if it be spring, or for richness of foliage in summer and autumn: and in coldest winter let us notice the delicate twigs and yet sturdy structure of this tree….”
In the plants and trees you have friends. They are there for you on a daily basis, they change, they grow, they live, and their energy can benefit us as our Reiki energy can benefit them. Closing his book, McFarland writes, “And the trees are waiting; the tree love is growing and the tree friends are inviting, and together we will add to the...knowledge and to the thankfulness for...life and love and friends that the trees do most constantly cause to flourish”
Written by Carrie Anderson, PhD, RMT