So, the other day, a friend (who isn’t freaking out at my theological conundrums, but still asks the questions) asked; ‘Are you praying?’ I answered; ‘Well, yesterday I tried talking to a tree’
Let me talk you through it.
So I made the clever decision to leave somewhere on the inside of the M25 at the ripe time of 4:55pm. Needless to say, by 6:25, I was wiggling my way slower and slower towards an even slower motorway of tears and decided somewhere in Esher that I would get off this chuffing road and sit it out. A helpful pull in car park on the edge of some woods made it easy so I escaped and walked further in to the trees until I nearly couldn’t hear the traffic (Though, I made sure I still could for purposes of hearing the general direction to return.)
I then planted myself in some grass and got out my book. Half an hour later, I felt a bit lost and disconnected. I felt rested and apart from my car journey, but I felt nothing like connected to what is around me. This seemed silly to me as I could have sat in my car and done that.
So I got up, barefoot, naturally, and started ‘grounding myself’. I have no idea what this actually means, what process it takes me on, but it feels, happy.
I found a tree in the middle of a clearing and began to focus on that. I’d gone to a nature connection workshop at greenbelt so began trying some stuff out. I started imagining the life of this tree, how it had grown off the rest of the patch, it’s relationship to other trees, I began to let my imagination flow and gave it some character. I began to ask God what was within this tree? What cry did it bring?
Then I touched it.
I’m sure we’ve all been there before…? Ever wanted to try a bit of tree hugging? I bet you have! Always felt a bit loopy, even, or perhaps, especially when you’re on your own? Well I can’t say this was my first public display of arboreal affection, but it was perhaps the most significant to date.
Nothing happened. No thunderbolts, no waves of emotion, no downloads from heaven.
Just me, and a tree, hanging out.
I’m not disappointed though. I’ve been thinking about it a lot the last few days. I think it felt real. in the context of my ever evolving theology, I think I came to see God or Spirit, or myself in the tree. It reflected me and my relationship with God. Through my own imagination I processed a lot in those moments without needing to explain myself.
I also gave another living thing the time of day. I didn’t ignore it. I don’t ignore people, most of the time, so why should I ignore the nature around me? I want to be more and more aware of the living things on this earth. Acknowledge the things they have to say.
Quite often you hear people talking of the rocks crying out if we don’t speak out our praise and worship. We see this as negative, speaking in rebuke of our laziness. For now, I’d quite like to hear what they have to sing. maybe I could learn a thing or two.