MY TREE CUTTING / COMMUNICATION STORY
When I was 9 I was living in the small Texas town of Lake Jackson. We lived around the lake which was divided into large lots. There were many trees and animals and the cow pasture across the street was vast and had a creek running through it.
There was a thicket of trees on our lot and one day I asked my mom if I could cut down one of those trees. I chose one that seemed suitable for my ability and size and she said yes. I don’t remember the kind of tree but it was maybe 10’-12’ tall and perhaps 6” in diameter.
I had used an ax before but never to cut down a living tree. I remember the excitement I felt in wielding the ax. The motion and stance of my body, the focus of eyes and mind and intention on one point exuded a sense of extraordinary aliveness and power.
This is the feeling I had when I approached the tree and made the first cut into the trunk. This initial feeling of enthusiasm wavered strongly after the first swing of the ax cut into the tree. I became unsure of myself, something felt wrong, I felt like I was hurting someone and shouldn’t be doing this.
These feelings made me pause to consider what I was doing but there was no rational explanation for them. My 9 years of living in a modern western culture offered no context or meaning for me to understand why I might feel disturbed by cutting down one tree. After all, there were thousands of trees in my world. I climbed some of them and picked the nuts and fruits and flowers from others.
I shook off this ambivalence and made a second cut into the tree.
This time there was no confusion about what I was feeling or why. The Tree began a telepathic communication with me that was as clearly understandable as a person speaking right next to me. There was no sound; this came as a thought form to my mind.
The nature and tone of this communication was that of a wise, patient and compassionate grandfather and it consisted mainly of questions.
“Why did I want to cut down this tree? Didn’t I know that it was a living being with feelings and a life of its own? Did I realize that this tree had a family and wanted to live out its normal life here on this land? Didn’t I know that the life of this tree had value as a living being? Other trees and animals like having this tree here. Why would I want to hurt the tree and take its life away?”
This is the line of questioning that I recall – it seemed as though I was being instructed and was being asked to consider the purpose of my actions and to understand why I desired to cut down this tree. There was no criticism or angst or warning in the tone or words. It was as though this Being just wanted me to understand a larger scenario before I made the choice to continue or not. I was clear that it was my choice but he was providing me with a new reality with which to weigh the consequences of my actions.
I was stunned and surprised and walked up to the house to ask my mom about trees and if they could feel. I don’t think I explained to her that the tree spoke to me because she would not have believed me.
She said, “No, trees don’t feel anything, go ahead and cut it down if you want to.”
Walking back to the trees I knew with absolute certainly that she was wrong and that I had hurt a living, feeling being and I felt BAD. I felt remorse and had a strong desire to make things right.
I folded up the split bark as best I could and put dirt in the wound, somehow thinking that might help. I told the tree how sorry I was, I didn’t know that I was hurting it and didn’t mean to cause any harm. My ignorance burned like a charcoal in my chest and there wasn’t anyone I could talk to about this.
The experience eventually faded from memory and I don’t recall having anymore “conversations” with the tree. A few years later we moved away so I don’t know how long this tree lived - I guess it’s possible, 40 years on, that it could still be alive...
Many years later I would tell about this experience and someone who can fluently communicate with trees told me that this / these trees have been teaching me all my life and continue to do so.
Based on the direction of my life and all I’ve done, I do not doubt this. For whatever reason though, the conscious awareness of this has not bubbled up to the surface in a clear or consistent way yet.
However, I trust that it will one day when the time is right.