Confession time: sometimes I hug trees. As in, I just walk up to it and literally put my arms around it.
On first thought, it might seem like a friendly thing to do. On second, there’s the rough, unforgiving bark, the type that seems to say little and reveal nothing, the type that would chafe more sensitive skins.
On third thought, I begin to realize that the bark is a necessary aspect, needed to protect a gentle being from harsh elements without the ability to escape or take shelter. For the tree must withstand even the lightning strike that would threaten to spell out its doom. That takes a hearty strength, a resilience both inner and outer.
I find that I like to hug trees. They stay put, almost grateful for any appreciation they can receive. I find hugging them to be stabilizing and comfortable for me. (Hopefully it’s mutually beneficial for the tree, too. I have the feeling that it is.) The tree includes me and accepts me into the folds of its groundedness.
Despite the stillness and inertness of the tree, there’s a Change In The Force. A transformation of vibe. The tree, chronically neglected and ignored to the extent that I wouldn’t blame it if it had become jaded and cynical, seems to hug me back. It seems to say, “ah. You get it.”
After a few moments, the whirlwind that is my human life takes over once again, but as I unwrap myself from the tree, the picture has changed, in an invisible but palpable way. Something has been put back, replenished, corrected, returned to a balanced state. Something that I hadn’t realized needed correction. Something I hadn’t realized was out of place in the first place. But something that has been made whole again regardless.
The tree and I have reached a mutual understanding. We’ve formed a new bond.
I step away from the tree, and though it remains in its place, the bond remains in its place, too.
It’s been a while since I’ve hugged a tree. I think I’m due, and so is the tree. After all, trees need love, too. ❤