Updated: Aug 9, 2021
1ightly, Biiji and I enter forest trails to greet tree and rock friends to receive our renewal for the day. We now share a few of the highlights. Given the holiday
season, we took this unique time to follow the Christmas star.
The problem I failed to consider was seeing the star through the forest canopy. I wandered as nimbly as my all-terrain walker would take me, looking for a canopy opening to the West. Finally, the moon broke through in exquisite brightness, saying
“follow me.” Lo and behold, who besides me should be following the moon? It was, of course, the Christmas star – here they are together – the Christmas star is to the lower right, from the moon. Moonlight and Christmas Star tell us that in darkness, Life-luminosity will be found. Sister Mo
on, with support from the Christmas Star, leads us down a spiritual pathway into the darkness. A sacred stump is the point of entry – the remnants of a 500- year-old cedar stump that has a giant girth at its base. Around its body, roots spring through its partially decomposed surface. Above it loom the jagged fragments of a second growth tree that was nursed into being by the ancient stump. Some of the upward sword-like spikes, the remains of a toppled trunk, are blackened from a forest fire that may have burned centuries ago
The jagged spikes remind us that many beings transitioned violently. This ancient transcender of generations, some of whose spirits love and the guard this place, tell us to honor Life -past, present & future. As we do so, we are welcomed into this forest to experience its many blessings. As we pass through this point of entry, we repeat the Lakota prayer word, Mitaqouyasin – “for all beings.” We have a feeling of plenitude as we him the pathway, surrounded by Spiritual company. Rock Sisters and Brothers Energize Our Journey
Energies radiating from this hidden brother put spring into our steps as we pass by...
The Forest Entry Point of Past, Present and Future. Down the path, a smallish, securely placed rock emerges from the center of the trail. When I first met this rock, I called it “Stumbling Rock” because I always tripped on it.
Then when I listened, I realized that it was telling me something; “Remember as you continue through the forest that there are sacred energies connecting everything , everywhere. ” Now that I hear the message correctly, I no longer trip and his name has been changed from “Stumbling Rock” to simply, “Brother Rock.” Next, on the edge of the path, a “Little Brother Rock,” speaks up. You will have to look closely.
He is barely visible just to the left of that longish stick, this side, near the top, mostly hiding under a glowing leaf. Little Brother Rock for many years sat in the trail like Brother Rock, then one day a horse’s hoof knocked him loose. I offered to take him home, he him “no thank you” and wanted to be put alongside the trail where he hides and then shows himself as leaves come and go over his head. But each time I go by he tells me, “we are strong, because we are on the big rock.” Vashon Island sits on top of a very big rock! The reminder is reminiscent of the Biblical tale of the wise man who built his house on a rock rather than sand. Mitaqouyasin.
Believe it or not, this is not a photo of a dirt wall! Notice that Moon is shining down on this stump of healing. (As we journey, the moon is rising higher and appearing smaller.) This tree, many years ago had been bulldozed over as part of a logging operation, leaving the tangle of roots dangling in the air. Gradually bits of dirt accumulated around the roots, plants grew, moss flourished, flowers grew, more dirt accumulated, more plants and even young trees began to grow within the tangle of roots – this is the back of the stump that you are now seeing in the night! The healing that has taken place on this stump is an answer to the jagged spears on that sacred stump which marked our entry point to the forest. I call the place on the trail, next to the stump, a place of hope. A Sacred Stump of Healing and Hope Hope it is, because it makes visible how Nature continually is healing wounds. I call it a place of Deep Hope because as I stand here there is a stream of strong energy coming up from the core of Mother Earth. I call it Strong because it is not just an attitude, but the energy is also intertwined with strength and guidance to help turn Hope into a reality; even as growing moss over wounds is not just an attitude it really is touchable, tangible healing. Feeling lonely is difficult when you’re in the forest because tree beings are very responsive to the returning of love, emotional warmth is especially abundant when the trail goes between couples or families of trees whose roots are intertwined beneath one’s feet. Radiant energy emanates upward! The moon has led us down the trail to the moonlit couple you see in this photo
. Another couple with intertwining roots and more love emanating upward through the trail!
Often older trees look after younger trees and they will grow together for many years. The following couple described themselves as having a big brother/little brother relationship.
A few years ago, when the national forest service was having a hearing in which they described a plan for harvesting mature trees. A Native American woman friend stood up and asked, “if you cut down all of the elders, who will teach the younger trees?”
Maple Tree Family Blessings Clustered together, this family welcomes diversity including the Huckleberry bushes and a Doug Fir. Caring energies are amplified and outreach to attentive Beings who come by on the trail. Their empathy also has suffered soul-costs. Positioned above a valley, they had to witness below, the traumatizing of a logging operation during this past year.
As a family, they thrive. Research has shown that mother Maples, working through their roots can choose which of their seedlings will receive the nourishment they need to grow and which need to be let go because of the overcrowding that would occur from the many seeds. This maternal work can be seen on the hillside beneath the family, where a brood of trees is nicely spaced. :-)
The Story of a Stump Table Renewed by Mrs. Big Foot
In the following photo, notice how the edges of this naked stump, even after the transition of the tree, have grown a rounded rim on the top. A squirrel family appreciated the success of this extra effort on the part of the stump; and for years, for generations, the stump became their dining room table. It was always covered with fragments of pinecones and other morsels that whetted the appetites of the family.
Then, one day, perhaps an unknown tragedy took place in the squirrel family? A hunter? Whatever happened they moved and left their dining room table behind – it was now barren.
But wipe the sadness from your eyes; the story is not over. As I was going down the trail, what did I see but a woman fleeing from my sight – lo and behold it was Mrs. Big Foot. (Inexplicably, the timer was on, on my phone-camera, so that I missed getting a photo.) And guess what she had done: the brightest leaves of the forest had been turned into a gorgeous tablecloth on the previously naked stump! Look –
You guessed it, the squirrel family came back and their dining room table could not be happier :-)
A Wounded Cedar Tree Is Finding Its Way to the Sky
Akin with the subjective Center or Soul of other Beings, relationships with trees deepen through time. My relationship with this Cedar began about three years ago. Now when I walk by, even if I am daydreaming about something else, her energies reach out to me and I feel the warmth.
The relationship began when a deer bit off her top. Look at the photo and notice what appears to be a stick poking upward from the base of the leader bough that is pointing upward where it joins with the initial bough that is pointing outward. That stick, small in diameter as it is, is the former trunk of this tree, marking where it was bitten off.
When I came by the tree, frequently on the trail, I would give it love, prayers for healing, and curiously notice how it would resolve the problem of designating a new leader-bough. Two boughs were competing for that position and the Center would have to decide between them as to who would lead toward the sun. After more than a year of deliberation, the choice was made and with urgency one bough sped toward the sky and the other reached outward. Her overall upward growth burgeoned and in the span of a few months, I was suddenly looking up to her rather than down upon her.
Bijii Needs Water
“Bijii” +”Baday” I was told, is an Anishinaabe name that can mean “runs like the wind.” This is what Bijii does every night, going about six or seven miles, while I push my all-terrain walker for about a mile. Freely roaming through forest trails and underbrush, he checks in with me about every 10 or 20 minutes, coming for a drink of water. Although he is panting and thirsty from his great sprints, even in cool weather, the periodic checking in from chasing birds is also symbolic, letting me know that he is okay and checking to see that I’m okay; receiving his drink from a handhold bowl is a communion of love.
This night I thought that I would show off my special walker and Bijii by setting his bowl of water on the fold out seat for him to drink –
Bijii however, rejected my photo plan. Receiving his drink of water from a handheld bowl is integral to our ritual. The look on his face says it all.
Bijii, of course, got his way, took a deep drink of cool water from a handheld bowl and trotted off happily to awaken more sleeping birds in the forest. :-)
But This Is a Temperate Rain Forest!
Beginning this journey on forest trails by following the moon and the Christmas star was indeed a Christmas season miracle of clear sky. Most often, this is a time for day after day, night after night, drizzle and rain. Before Bijii and I head for the woods, this photo captures the way that I usually look..