Message from a Tree

– Posted in: My Journey

Now that I’ve completed sixty orbits around our solar system, the youth-bias messages in our Western Society seem to be knocking on my door more often. I look in the mirror and find it hard to turn away from the voice on my shoulder pointing out the lines and age spots, telling me how unattractive they are and that it’s all downhill from here on.

Fortunately, all those orbits around the sun have also brought me new information and introduced me to new voices with different perspectives.

Enter the voice of my tree.

I just finished a class with Sarah Seidelmann, a physician turned coach, and writer of What the Walrus Knows. Over the past few months she helped me re-discover my deep connection to Nature and open my ears to the subtle voices whispering all around me: the hummingbird hovering over my geranium, a black crow perched on the wall of the balcony, and the rabbit that wants to come out of the piece of alabaster I’m sanding and sculpting.

This morning, I heard the voice of the tree right outside my balcony. My tree is big, gnarly, and old, and for the past four months, it’s bare, stark arms have been twisting towards the sky. Not exactly attractive by some standards, but always calm, dignified, and serene – an open, clean dessert beauty. For the past week, I’ve been watching spring leaves begin to sprout from those bare branches. What astounds me is how fast they’re growing. As I sat soaking in the cool morning stillness, admiring those fresh leaves I wondered what message my tree had for me today?

And there it was – clear as could be. My tree reminded me to notice and appreciate the gifts of age and largeness. As it has grown older, it has become so much more than a young sapling tree. Its roots have spread deep into the stability and nourishment of the earth and its arms have spread wide, providing shade from the dessert sun and a resting place for countless birds. Every year it becomes bigger and better, weathered to perfection by the scorching sun, monsoon rains, and wind storms. Less than a month ago, it survived another in a long string of chainsaw amputation of limbs that humans found unacceptable and every year it continues to grow and spread more oxygen, shelter, and beauty.

The tree wanted me to know that having more to give is the gift of my years. It’s telling me that I’ve shed old patterns and beliefs, that I’ve gone through a period of rest and that the new growth is emerging – fast. It’s ready to come bursting through, more abundant and beautiful than ever. The lines, age spots, and grey hairs hold a beautiful message of experiences lived, expanding understanding and an accumulation of wisdom and compassion to be shared.

How wonderful to be growing older. I believe I’ll be paying more attention to what my tree has to say than listening to those other voices… Want to try it with me?

17 comments… add one
Christa Gallopoulos April 5, 2012, 7:40 am

Oh, Maryna, I love this!

I’ve just started Sarah’s class and look forward to taking more time to hear what comes to me. I’m not too far behind you in the rotations and see these patterns more and more.

Thank you. XOXO

Maryna Smuts April 5, 2012, 7:48 am


Have a wonderful time with Sarah’s class. It truly was one of the most magical classes I’ve ever taken and it’s so fun to look at all of nature with different eyes.

Thank You!!

Kirsten April 5, 2012, 9:30 am

Maryna, I love this! And it was just the new perspective I was looking for – thank you so much!

Carla April 5, 2012, 11:48 am

Love this, Maryna! Trees have so much to teach us about living, especially old wise ones who have weathered many storms and witnessed all the change around them and continue to stand strong and sheltering. Cheers!

Maryna Smuts April 5, 2012, 12:43 pm

Glad you liked it, Kirsten! Thanks for commenting!

Maryna Smuts April 5, 2012, 12:44 pm

Thanks, Carla!

Yes, trees are pretty magical and I’ve been drawn to them for years. Thanks for reading my post and commenting!

Susan Foster April 8, 2012, 1:07 pm

Maryna, thanks so much for this!!! Did me a world of good, since I often find my lizard telling me I’m old!!!

Maryna Smuts April 8, 2012, 1:39 pm

Susan, I say, let the lizard take a nap and get educated… 🙂

Suzie Coors April 10, 2012, 7:24 am

Maryna, my friend, trees have always spoken to me and blessed me with their beauty and wisdom. You truly are one of them and I’m grateful for that.

Maryna Smuts April 10, 2012, 11:25 am

Thanks, Suzie! You’re part of what nourishes my soul too… Thank you for being a part of my life. 🙂

Linda Ford April 22, 2012, 8:38 am

thank you for this equisite piece of writing Maryna! I will remember it the next time I look in the mirror.

Maryna Smuts April 22, 2012, 10:07 am

Thanks, Linda! So glad it resonated with you… And it’s strange (but maybe not) that one of my ideas for writing recently, is about mirrors! 🙂

rebecca @ altared spaces April 23, 2012, 10:50 am

I find trees in winter, when they are bare and stark to be at their loveliest. I adore that skyline well-pointed and staccato. Things are brought into such sharp focus without the distractions of springtime leaves.

Don’t get me wrong: I love spring. I love the smells, the feel of sunshine returning to my skin. I like dandelions that pop up overnight to yellow my world.

But there is nothing like the assurance of the black and white skyline in winter when deep roots are revealed in a canopy that cannot hide behind the mask of green leaves.

So glad you are appreciating your roots and revolutions as well.

Maryna Smuts April 23, 2012, 12:28 pm

I agree Rebecca. Love the starkness of winter even though the spring leaves are “prettier”. And it’s such a beautiful reminder that substance tends to be undervalued when compared to “pretty” and yet, that’s where the foundation lies. Without the underlying substance, “pretty” could not exist.

Allison April 28, 2012, 10:36 pm

Oh, I love this Maryna! I will never look at a tree again the same way. And the next time I look in the mirror and find something to fault, I will consult the trees instead of my lizard!

Maryna Smuts April 29, 2012, 7:22 am

Isn’t that fun, Allison. Realizing that there are different ways to look at things… 🙂

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