To paraphrase Robert Frost, something there is that does love a tree. And you’d think that a tree-lover like me would be mindful of the impressive specimen directly outside the window of the room I chose as my office in my new home. But you’d be wrong. I didn’t notice it until we had moved into the home and I sat at my desk and looked out the window.
The home that my wife and I bought is just four miles from where we had lived for 16 years. We had been in and around our new home more than a dozen times before we moved in, but I hadn’t noticed that tree. A prime example of acute mindlessness.
That’s my office window at the right in the photo. Now, when I look out, I’m dazzled by the beauty and the wisdom of that tree. I have no idea what species it is, but it reminds me of the famous bodhi tree, under which the Buddha sat when he attained enlightenment.
Beauty and wisdom — that’s what I see now after having paid no attention at all. When I meditate with my eyes open, outdoors or near a window, my eyes often rest on a tree, and I feel its aliveness. I feel one with it. Now with this tree outside my window I’ve been pondering the life of a tree. I’ve been pondering the beauty and wisdom of mature trees.
This one has survived a couple of human generations and some 50 tree generations. Its roots, reaching deep into the Virginia soil, bring it nourishment and stability. Wind, rain, ice, and snow have pushed and pulled at its branches, but it is wise enough to bend just enough to let the elements be what they need to be, so the tree can continue to carry out its role in the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
As this spring comes, the tree will once again give birth to leaves, which will thrive in the sunlight and probably bask in the illusion of their separateness. Each leaf will love its greenness and its shape, but the tree will know that the leaves are part of one whole. When fall comes, and the sun grows more distant, this year’s crop of leaves will gain wisdom along with their new colors. They will see that they have new life as nourishment for the tree and future generations of leaves.
But the tree knew that all along. And the tree understands rest and dormancy. It knows that its bare and brown branches are beautiful, as they are in the green of summer.
The tree has the wisdom of a Buddha. It inspires me, there in its confident calm outside my window.
— Mel Pine (Fearless Lotus)
Copyright 2016 © Mel Harkrader Pine