It has been said by sages of ancient times that humans are leaves of the same tree or fingers of the same hand. We see each other as different beings, but we are all physically connected from the same source. This does not go far enough. It is not just humanity, but all of creation that is one. All of existence is constantly melting and mixing into itself. At the core, we can break things down into elements like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and many others. Everything in the world will become stardust. The Universe does not favor one side of itself more than another. When we learn of spinning galaxies filled with billions of stars, how can we believe that one country is more important than another? Why do we even have countries at all? We are riding a living planet through space, and we are all on the same ride together. We all come from the same place and we all are headed to the same place. All of us: trees, people, rocks, water, animals. Not so long ago in history, people thought slavery was okay. It took a while for the mainstream to accept that all people are equal. It will take a while longer for people to accept that all of life is equal.
All of life wants to live and is made of the same elements. Consciousness blows through all of the beings in the Universe, whether we recognize it or not. It is a prejudice to say that our way of perception is superior to another’s. It has been proven by scientists that plants have a sense of hearing and a memory. They do not have a brain like ours, but they clearly have some form of consciousness. Plants share this world with us. They strive to express themselves and they have life stories filled with joy and tragedies. These sentient beings are built to work with us. If we can just notice, we will see that our world is filled with powerful allies: The trees of power are just some of them.
Life is eating itself everywhere, devouring bodies of plants, animals, and entire worlds. Supernovas sing out in creation and still, people will say that God doesn’t exist. They will say, “But look at all the bad stuff.” So what? The Universe is not scared of pain or awkwardness or horror or anything. The Universe lives inside you and in everything you see. Cells, atoms, electrons, mitochondria are all dancing, making noise, being.
You can draw lines on a map, but the Universe will erase them in time. Your country is not any more important than other places. We are all leaves of the same tree. Beings lost in a bewildered, living dream. We are the play of existence. The strange workings of a Universe that enjoys experience. Infinity is in all directions from where you sit, even down through your center. You are awake in a dream of incomprehensible immensity. I watch my two-year-old son build block towers only to knock them down a minute later. He enjoys the action. It is the same with our work here on Earth. It will all be knocked down. Every species will go extinct, every tree will die, every person will vanish, melting into the oblivion of existence. We are drops of water disappearing into the ocean. Our work is for beauty and experience. When we forget the totality of existence, we take ourselves seriously and believe strange things are important. I know some people will read this and think, What is the point? There does not have to be a point. Have you ever heard a song that touched you so deeply, you felt a longing for something that you could not describe? Have you ever danced without thought, or laughed so hard your stomach hurt? There was no point to any of those things, but you would certainly do them again. It is the same with working with trees. You will feel joy, frustration, inspiration, and wonder. Existence is beyond the scope of the human mind. It is for you to wonder about but never understand. If you could understand it, then it would not be so great. It would have to be made smaller to fit into your mind. Let it be great. Honor it, respect it, love it, laugh at it, spit on it, and rollover asleep with it. Life is for living. There are many traps for humans to fall into. Thought patterns that drive home feelings of despair and depression. See these traps for what they are—places that you don’t have to go. Your life force is precious. You are alive inside an infinite Universe. While you have awareness, embrace it. Don’t get bogged down with words of gloom or normalcy. There is nothing normal here. There are no dates or places. You are at the center of infinity.
The present moment always offers something new. Every breath can bring a new thought. This dream is too beautiful to waste being miserable. The trees are here with us. They are our allies, but they are also fingers of the same hand. All of us creatures who live upon the surface of the Earth draw our power from the same connected elements. Water that passes through my body is the same water that is drunk and expelled by trees of ancient and future times. Carbon that builds my body is the same carbon that has always been on the Earth. Our cells are filled with the same mysterious energy that all of creation is. Offer gratitude and you will receive it. Offer complaints, and you will receive them. We participate in creation with every thought and action, every dream and word. There are choices available every second. Victims, conquerors, saints, and humble tree planters—you can do anything. The Universe is not limited in possibility, and so neither are you.
Reality is a relative term. It means nothing other than an agreement between people. Know that when air passes through your body, it is ancient and everlasting. That breath will exist forever as it passes from one being to the next and eventually out into space, where it will be for billions of trillions of years. It will transform into infinite forms, and a part of you will always be in its essence. The totality of the Universe is one. Manifested forms will rise and fall forever like my son’s block towers. It is the churning over and over of itself. Find peace in your breath and know that no matter what you do, say, or think, you cannot be separated. Your breath, water, carbon, and cells are leaves of the same tree, fingers of the same hand that holds existence together. Ride this wave, for you are one drop of water in an ocean of infinite immensity. You are held so safely in this dream of infinity that even if you go through hell and your body is ripped to a million shreds, you will still be part of infinity no matter what you do. You are a drop of water in the ocean. A voice among a chorus of a billion trillion singers. Listen to the song being sung by the world. We can only hear a little bit of this song, but it gives us a glimpse of the beauty and madness that infinity holds. Thank you for existence.
A Vision for Working with Trees
Civilization is our creation. We can make it anything. Right now we use a tremendous amount of our resources to kill people and numb our minds. I can imagine at least some of this energy being used for working with trees. Humans are so ambitious and creative. With a shift of awareness, the future has a way to crack and shell shagbark hickories efficiently; persimmons stand guard over doorways; elderberries line creek banks that are terraced with living willow walls; biomass crops fill the highway median strips; schoolyards are home to orchards, gardens, and berry patches big enough to feed all the kids that attend; parks are planted with pecans and chestnuts; barren fields are transformed into hazel thickets; mulberries are available in every backyard. Our soils are held secure by the roots of magnetic trees, while our bodies are cooled by their shade, our souls nourished by their generosity, our lives filled with the work of growing, harvesting, and preparing.
Trees offer partnership freely: no strings attached, no bill in Congress, no debate. They are here with branches extended in generosity. If we just notice and accept their gifts, what a different world we would have. But it is not just a dream. This reality is attainable and is happening. Billions of people care for the Earth and humanity. Many folks are already busy planting, grazing, processing, cooking, growing, learning endlessly. There is an entire subculture obsessed with working with nature. These people are ravenous for information. They listen constantly to the story the plants tell us about soil and biodiversity. They work hard and start businesses, write books, and produce volumes of healthy food. In some neighborhoods, it will seem you will be the only one who cares about trees. However, if you start planting or harvesting seriously, people will notice. You will find that you are not the only one. This movement builds exponentially. It is built upon inspiring action.
If you tell people to do something, they will not. If you shine your own light, people will be drawn into its warmth. Happy Planting.