Today we went for a hike. It’s hot and bright in Southern California, and we have not had rain since the 4th of March. But the trees in the Thousand Oaks Arboretum are alive and green and providing lots of shade. When we came upon this one in the hush of soft breezes and the occasional bird call, the spirit of the majestic oak filled the place. Nature is calming and I wondered if across our planet we could all find some peace if we focussed more on such gifts.
We met another wanderer on the trail, and he pointed us in the direction of a narrow path that took us down by a stream. Yes, there was water tricking despite the drought and birds enjoying the quiet and profound calm of the place
As we walked on, the trees opened to a vista of sky, this one making us wonder if the spirits were playing with water colors, spilling some white paint into the blue, streaking it lightly.
If you have had times when life was a struggle, that’s certainly true for nature. She is as tenacious as we are, her children lifting limbs with leaves, stems with flowers to the sun, working through the process of photosynthesis despite the lack of moisture. The plants in the photo below are thriving having decided that they can live without much water, if any.
We were hot but exhilarated when we finished our two mile hike. We were grateful for a drink of water, yet more grateful to nature for the gift of amazing lavender and rosemary scents, buzzing insects, musical stream water and the ever attentive breeze. It’s a great stress reducer; it’s church–in the blowing grass, the waving branches.
For the spirit of creation is truly all around us. When we can, it is good to focus on it, soak it in. Even if your walk is punctuated with car horns and other traffic sounds–there should be one plant, one bright flower or bush shining somewhere, one tree for you to smile upon. The spirit of the tree–there to remind all of us to lift ourselves up–and hopefully to give back to others–like the tree continually does, shading us and sharing its constant strength.
Thanks to John Havey for the wonderful photos and the walk.
And thanks to Donna Beckman Tagliaferri who sent me the following information which is so comforting. The official state tree of Nevada is called the Bristol Cone Pine, it lives for hundreds of years if it is in the wilderness where it has to fight to grow. If you put it in a protected area the life span is only a 100 years…. Strength comes from struggle.