Wisdom from a willow tree
It’s a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. The sky is blue and clear, there’s a slight breeze in the air, and it’s neither too hot or too cool. It’s a perfect afternoon for a nap.
Even on vacation at a beautiful Airbnb cabin with my husband, I seek opportunities to talk with nature. Our location provides many, given that we’re surrounded by trees and woods, vegetables and flowers. I decide to go sit under the willow tree to see what it has to say about God.
I sit, leaning against the tree, laptop open and ready to receive. I close my eyes and say a little prayer, getting centered and connected. I ask the tree if it has a story to share that will bring others to Christ.
The willow feels to me that it is waking from a long slumber. A long time being still and silent. Almost like it’s stretching.
“Willow trees live a long time, my dear,” the tree begins. The voice strikes me as not quite male or female.
Do trees have a gender? I wonder.
“No.” The tree chuckles. “We simply are. But if you must, I am a male” (given as a combination of ma- from male and -le from fema-le).
Okay, I say. Well, good morning.
“Good morning,” the tree says, as if waking up and looking around.
“All around me is peaceful and beautiful. I am always awake and always asleep. I do not slumber, nor do I dream. I simply am.”
This feels so beautiful to me, so true. It touches my heart.
“I simply am,” the willow continues. “I breathe out and expand into the universe to gather what I need. I breathe in to bring it back to myself. All flows, in and out, back and forth. It is the nature of all things to come and to return.”
I consider this briefly, then ask, I thought that God lacked polarity? Rhythm? That God is unchanging and stable and centered.
“Ah!” The willow chuckles again. “I see. A philosopher, are you? Well then, let’s philosophize.”
(I feel that I am given to understand, but without words. But for the sake of telling a story, I will try with the words.)
As above, so below,
Nature herself rules the show.
“God does not lack polarity, child. He simply chooses to remain in one place, and is no longer swayed in the same way that you are. His mind does not wander, nor does his heart. The darkness does not appeal to him any longer. He simply is, in his space of being and lovingness, and he calls all home.”
The shepherd calls, and the sheep know his voice.
I feel this statement more than hear it.
“His call goes out like a radar, sending a signal of love…love…love. Are you willing to hear it? Are you willing to receive it? Alas, not many hear, and fewer are willing to receive. The candy store is too enticing to most.”
There is a pause in our conversation. I notice how often leaves fall from the tree. It strikes me as odd, since I think of leaves falling so frequently as something that happens only in autumn.
“Pieces of me fall, like the shedding of skin, and yet I create more.”
“Do not mourn the loss. Do not mourn what dies. Embrace the new life that this death brings. All things must go through the cycle of birth and death, creation. So it is, and so it must be. Embrace it and you will find more joy in your life. Exhale and let it go.”
I am grateful for the simple, timeless wisdom the willow has shared with me. Its words are few, the messages profound.
How can we be more like the willow, breathing in and out, giving and receiving, letting go and creating anew?