There once was a girl with long green hair. She liked to travel, sometimes by foot, and sometimes with her heart and mind. In her journeys, she connected to magical worlds and wise beings who shared their knowledge with her; this helped her to discover herself. This story is about one of those journeys.
She loved trees. One of her best friends was a tall maple tree from the forest close to her house. They first met when the girl was little, one day when she was picking up mushrooms in the forest with her mum. She was chasing a squirrel and got lost; the tree kept her company with one of his magical stories until her mum found her. Since then, their friendship grew stronger every day.
The tree was a great storyteller; the girl used to listen to his stories with such delight that sometimes she didn’t want to go home. She dreamed of being a tree and spending the rest of her life in the forest with her friend because it was there that she felt most free and alive.
“I don’t like being a human,” said the girl to the tree one day as she was lying in the grass, admiring his beautiful tall branches. “I wish I was a tree just like you.”
“Do you? What do you think it’s so great about being a tree?”
“Well, you get to spend all your time in this beautiful and peaceful place. You can just be you, and no one is trying to change you into something that you are not. Nothing can hurt you here.”
“Yes, I get to live in this beautiful place, but it doesn’t mean that nothing can hurt me. There are many things that you don’t know yet, my dear. What I want you to know right now, is that you are more like me than you think.”
“Really?” screamed the girl happily.
“Yes” chuckled the tree. “A long time ago, I was a young sapling starting its journey through life like you are now. My trunk was more like a twig at that time, and my roots were very thin and fragile. There were many times when I thought I might not make it, especially when storms came about. But I learned to see them for what they truly were: they might cause destruction, but they also bring growth. The water from the rain helped my roots become stronger; my trunk became solid in time, and my branches grew taller. The wind carried my seeds for miles and miles away, and it’s like this that other trees can grow, in places they didn’t think was possible.”
The girl looked lost in her thoughts. “I can’t imagine you ever being a fragile sapling.”
“I was such a long time ago, that it almost feels like a dream.”
“So, how is that connected with me being like you?”
“Well, throughout your life, there might be times when you’ll have to deal with storms too, and those moments can feel overwhelming. You might feel angry or sad when that happens, but don’t let the storms break you or define you. Just like me, hang in there and pick yourself up when you are ready, again and again. Find out what you can learn from them and move forward. Once you learn to weather the storms, you will begin to stand tall, to be proud of what you have overcome and who you have become. Remember that the only thing you can control in life is how you react to things.”
“That sound a bit scary but feels nice at the same time,” said the girl smiling and she gave the tree a hug.
Years went by, and the girl grew up. One day after saying goodbye to her friend, she moved to another world, far away. The storms came and went in the girl’s life; the tree’s words stayed with her and gave her strength to go on every time. The girl became stronger and discovered herself through the storms, just as her friend told her. Quite a few more years have passed, and one day her maple tree friend came to her mind a lot; so, she decided to go back home and visit him, to thank him for the advice that helped her weather the storms.
When she got to the forest, all she could find left of him were his roots and a big chunk of his lower trunk. The girl felt that her heart broke into a million pieces. She fell to the ground and started crying while resting her head on the tree stump. As she traced the rings of the tree stump with her fingers, she wondered how humans could be so cruel. She then realised that not all people could still talk to trees because they forgot how to speak the heart’s language. If only they knew that if they silenced their minds and opened their hearts, they might be able to remember again and find the guidance that they seek, in nature.
(Tree photo taken by me @ Shropshire 2015)