On the path from there to here, I have stopped and stayed a while under the canopy of a friendly ash, or motherly willow. I have sat and moodled against the supportive trunks of oak trees or spent the longest while stroking the silky bark of beech. All the while listening to the beautifully melodic tones of the Lost Language that is never heard or spoken.
Since writing Stories from the Sacred Grove, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my adventures and the impact that writing the book had on me. I have also been privileged to experience the honour and thrill of listening to readers feedback. I cherish this, not only because it is lovely to hear, but mainly due to this being a wonderful insight into how people are changing, all over the world.
Humankind is slowly shifting away from old dogma and rigid persecution of those who do not fit into a bigger picture, and embracing the complexity of so many different attitudes, lifestyles, and individual qualities. As we diversify and celebrate our differences, we also recognise that our view is both: one of many perspectives, and yet, integral to the world being just the way it is.
As the forest is a collection of many trees and every tree only knows what it is to see the forest from their very own position, each tree is an essential part of the forest as it is. If just one tree was different or not there, or if other trees that never flourished, suddenly came into being, the paths through the forest would be different. The journey we all take is the way it is because things are just the way they are. Change one thing you change the journey, you change life.
Though just as the path is there to be walked upon, it is also as essential aspect of the forest that it change route or direction from time to time. The view needs to change, because that is how new growth is able to renew and refresh even the most ancient of woodland. Very often, the older trees may protest and tighten the cover of their branches to block out the light to the floor below, however the very same nature that enabled those trees to get so big, is the thing that will encourage a small sapling to reach up and grasp the light, no matter what happens.
This is the joyous struggle for life; an all-encompassing yet fragile balance between staying the same and change. The young seek out every clink and crack that lets a life-giving shaft of light, the old come to know their surroundings and feel comfortable in them. Growth is change, stillness is safe, life goes on, or not.
On my own path, I have met many such trees – from the small oak sapling on the shores of Loch Ness, to the Lone Tree, and Little Christmas Tree. Fearful, alone, wanting so much to live, yet not knowing how. I have also met a lot of people with the same challenges – so it seems that tree and human are not so far apart, after all! Except, the perspective of trees is somehow different to ours. The fear of trees is not like that of humankind, for even in the face face of the end of this life, they do not know darkness and pain, as we do. For every tree is connected to the Earth in an integral way. No matter how individual they are, or how unique they feel, underlying every moment is the knowledge that they are the Earth – there is no difference. A tree does not stop being the Earth to become a tree, no more than your nose stops being a part of you to become a nose! And when your nose smells perfume, who has the experience?
Even a tree that has been cut down, will speak the Lost Language for the longest while, as the Earth talks to us – not as one faraway, but as the voice in our head, our own voice. For when we sense the world, who is it that is having the experience?
One day, I was out walking and simply listening to the chatter and song of the surrounding trees. I passed by many different individuals, all busying themselves with the day ahead, relishing the sunshine and generally sharing the news of how their seed production was going. The air was vibrant and sparkling with life, as another day unfolded.
I went about my day as usual, doing the mundane stuff and choir, before returning home, later in the afternoon. As I walked back the air was different; more lazy and calm. There was a stillness in the heat of the afternoon, that was like treacle, both in feeling and in sight, as the air was filled with sun-dabbled haze. The familiar road unfolded and I walked onwards.
Then something different, unusual, terrible. One of the trees was gone. Now, no more than a stump, jutting from the ground as a testament to the beautiful lime tree who had been there a little while ago. I moved towards this wooded gravestone and stopped to ask what had happened.
The other trees were all a buzz, consoling what was left of this little one and the sensation took me right back to my time with little Christmas Tree; although now, I knew this experience at a much deeper level. In the same way as a grief counsellor comes to know the journey through bereavement and a teacher learns to understand the way of their class, I was less overwhelmed by the ‘panic’. This calmness gave way to a lulling in the frantic communication, almost as if the trees were saying… “Help has arrived, this one knows what to do!”
I did what many would understand as triggering the Ailim Essence, though for me, this was a song of so many journeys and one journey. This was a lament for a tall and proud Fir tree, struck by lightning in a violent storm and of the tiniest Christmas Tree, who was cut down before life had even begun. It was of the grief they felt and the far off place they looked to, a place we only know in fragmented moments of life.
This was not ‘a vibration’, or ‘an energy’. It was not about ‘Reiki’ or ‘doing a treatment’. It was that moment in a piece of music when the orchestra begins to swell into a soaring crescendo. It was the the feeling of being in love and the heartbreak of lose. It was a taste so visceral and integral that every sense lights up with sensation , as soon as the morsel hits the tongue. It was the smell of roses that reminds one of a forgotten memory; pulling it back into consciousness with such clarity and vivid sharpness, as to leave one stunned. It is the moment in the lullaby that we go to sleep and forget the troubles of the world. It was what exists beyond the shroud and the path we do not yet know.
As I told this tree of the journey of others, and of my own journey, the tree seemed to shift through these stages of her own journey. As if the telling of the tale in the Lost Language helped her to move beyond her own trauma. The healing came in the experience of life and a reconnection to herself as the Earth. As the tree ebbed away, like the tide ripped from the shore, the crash of the next wave exploded into my consciousness and the Earth spoke.
“On a day like any other day you have known, you’ll get out of bed, get yourself ready for the day ahead and do what you usually do. That day will seem or feel like any other day; you will have the same routines and go about your regular choirs. But that day will be different, because that is your last day…
…you will not wake up and say ‘this is my last day’. There will be not telltale signs or miraculous prophecies to hint at what is to come. Yet, it will come. You may only see a glimpse or two, you make live a whole day more, until the night comes and you go to sleep that is eternal. There is no fanfare or ticker-tape parade, no feeling that it is different or special in anyway. It just is and we never know it is…
…remember this, as you walk though your life. Death is not the end, it is simply another journey. When the person you believe yourself to be, dies, it is merely a passing from one thing to another, a spark to a flame, a night into day. We are the Earth and there is no separation, your experience and mine are the same, so when you stop experiencing this life, you will experience other lives through me…
…although everything you have achieved will remain as a testament to who you were. Every kind word spoken or deed you have ever done, will remain in the hearts of those you touched. Each wonder you have created and imbued with your wisdom, lives on. The legacy you have made will be how you are remembered, long after the physical body has taken another path. And these memories are your memories, for you and I are one…
…so cherish every day, every moment, every fleeting glimpse of this life. For when you think and feel and experience as the Earth, you remember that everything is just as it should be… and the wonder is in the living of every single moment with every single fibre of your being.”
The Neverknow Tree feel silent, as she fully realised that she was the Earth, once again. There was no me and you, no them and us – it was oneness. Her voice was my voice and it was the Earth’s voice.
So, as you read these words, ask yourself, are you reading the thoughts of another, in some other place and time, or is what you are experiencing right now, the voice of the Earth, your voice, calling you to remember – do not wait until the day your never know is here to come…. Live your life as the Earth now, because this is your legacy…