At the end of December 2017, I attended the New Ways of Knowing Meditation and Writing Retreat. Backed up to Joshua Tree National Park, it’s no wonder we heard coyotes each evening and saw rabbits (galore!) and quail each day. We even found what looked to be emu or ostrich footprints.
The charming facility (it’s colorful interior Mary Engelbreit-esque) boasted a stationary red bus that became our symbol for staying on track. If we found ourselves getting sidetracked from the task at hand—writing—we’d say, “Get back on the bus!” I’ve since printed and framed this photo. Standing sentinel in my writing studio, it serves as a tangible reminder to stay focused.
Without a doubt, trees are my favorite things. As so eloquently spoken by The Trees of Endor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, “Trees purify the air; they also purify the mind . . . if you want to save your world, you must save the trees.”
Hidden under the rich soil is an enormous underpinning of roots; an intricate system that extends two to three times the radius of the crown. Deep roots anchor the tree; enabling it to dance without falter; to sway in unison with other trees in the unpredictable wind. When we look to trees—learn from and emulate them—we discover the ancient key to tranquility. We’re reminded that we, too, have deep roots and are meant to branch out into the world. And while life seems to move faster and faster each day, when we stand still like trees, remaining rooted to what sustains us; we remember to take pleasure in nature and hold dear all who live here. Trees are my personal reminder that deep roots allow me to bend in a storm—to be flexible—while still reaching for the sky.