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.