Friday, August 07, 2009

The Tree Whisperer

I am a tree hugger. I am also a tree whisperer. I feel them, I hear them, I speak to their sentient souls. The old ones, the wise ones have so much to say and offer. Shelter and guardianship and healing and advice, they offer it freely to anyone. My life is enriched for bothering to take it, for knowing that salve will be poured into my heart and soul each time I lean my pains and my troubles against the bark of a well established tree. I consider them no less than friends and honor them accordingly.

In my backyard is a sprawling walnut much older than me. I sit under its shelter in the mornings with my rose petal tea, I lean against it in the dark to banish my sorrows. Black and grey squirrels, woodpeckers and wrens, cardinals and catbirds have all graced the limbs and grooved highways of this guardian tree. I love this tree.

So last night at 8:15pm, when the call came from the woman who owns this house where I live to tell me she was having the walnut tree cut down today, and I'd best move my flowers out of harms way, I entered a state of shock. No, she said, her mind was made up. The tree was (suddenly?) a liability to her investment and had to go. She had to protect her property, you see. I'd best move my flowers.

I walked out into the dusk, sat down at the base of the walnut tree and cried. Without shame, I tell you I cried like a child. Loud and messy, on behalf of my dear friend who would spread his limbs wide to the moon for only one more night. I hugged my friend and thanked him for all the joy and support he had given me. I hugged him for a very long time. I circled him clockwise, my hand trailing the grooves of his trunk, and asked all the Angels and Faeries I know to lift his sweet sentient soul up to heaven's garden before the first blade cut his limbs. I asked that he feel no pain. I gathered all the lime green nuts I could reach and promised to plant them somewhere safe. I cried some more. I slept terribly.

I took last pictures of my friend the walnut in the morning light and hugged him long again. He told me it was going to be okay and he thanked me for honoring him with my tears and my requests. I left, grateful to be away for the whole of the day, dreading the view upon my return. As I drove away, my dear friend the walnut said to me, tonight stand in my place and spread your arms wide. I will see you. And you, tree whisperer, will finally see the stars.


  1. Please know that I am crying with you....I will never understand why someone feels the need to kill such elegant creatures of God. Trees / deer / ducks / patches of's all the same and it's such a terrible, terrible waste! All in the name of "progress" or "liabilities"? I just don't get it....

  2. sugarfreeseer8/07/2009

    Apparently she has never known the powers of nature in her life, how sad for her. We will honor the memory of Walnut in other trees that still stand tall. I would be honored to plant one of it's offspring in my yard! Missy Landlady's only liability is in her selfishness, some 'investment' she's made!

  3. Oh that left me unjust, how unfair. Please find the group called "Telling the Bees" and listen to their songs...two in particular, "The Trees are Quietly Raging" and "Worship the Trees" - you'll find kindred spirits.

    How wise trees are. I talk to them, I wake some of them up, I listen to them. I feel your pain, truly.

  4. OMG it so wonderful to find a fellow tree-loving whisperer. And yes, your walnut was incredible, and yes, he or she is fine....And isn't wonderful you had the time you had together -- unforgettable! I have a tree I regularly stop by on my walks. I call her "The Mother", she is a California Bay Laurel and is HUGE. Probably the largest and oldest tree on Deer Island. Reality changes under her limbs, and I am never the same after I have spent time in her branches. I honor her every day!

  5. Anonymous8/08/2009

    Oh, God, Graciel, you know how much I feel your pain. You may remember our new neighbor cut down EVERY SINGLE TREE in her yard this past summer/fall/spring. EVERY SINGLE ONE. We used to feel like we were in a secret garden in our back yard because of those trees...

    SO SAD...

  6. Graciel, I am tree hugger to. I love trees and there is a special grove of trees I like to go to where I feel safe and loved. I hug them and they hug me back.
    I almost cried along with you about the loss of your Tree friend. I wonder if that woman felt what do about trees would she be so quick to cut them.

  7. susan@80O8/08/2009

    Trees are a passion of mine. Unless that one is diseased in some way or 'hollowing out' from the inside, which would weaken it re a major storm, that woman is misguided/misinformed. Trees INCREASE the value of real estate. That one, if solidly rooted, would probably be there after your landlady is long gone. Perhaps the massive roots are somehow interfering with the foundation, etc.? Or the tree could be significantly pruned if it is potentially endangering the house/roof? A black walnut tree is the paramount food source for WNY local squirrels and some birds throughout the entire winter.

    Having said that, I lost all of my backyard trees in the October '06 ice storm and planted bushes and quite a garden because now there would be plentiful sunshine; and, yes, I now can see the sun, the moon, and the stars. All is not lost, Graciel.

  8. susan@80o8/08/2009

    PS: Walnut trees can fetch a pretty penny, that may have been an influence on her, too.

  9. This is beautiful and amazing. Just like you!

    I weep with you.

    Trees have spoken very clearly to me in the past, too.

    Thank you for sharing this incredible tale with us.

  10. Very sad. There is so much beauty and grace in the trees.


I always appreciate the time you take to comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by. Peace from my heart to yours. xo, Graciel