Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The cry of the trees


The cry of the trees, at the very end of a training I led deep in the woods in the Pacific Northwest, was the only disturbing episode during that grand adventure. All that week, we had delighted in a world of green – frilly greens of the cedars, mossy greens hanging from high trunks and draping stumps and nurse logs, bottle-green shadows of the deep woods, juicy greens of berry bushes and young vines, splashy brown-greens of the beaver swamp.
    -On our last morning, preparing for an exercise in community visioning, I asked the members of our circle to join hands and imagine that we were creating a Dream Tree with our joined energies.

“Let your awareness go down to the souls of your feet. You feel yourself standing with the Earth. You are reaching down now, through the souls of your feet.
     "You are reaching deep into the Earth, going deep and spreading wide, as the roots of a tree go deep and spread wide. You feel your energy filaments touching and clasping the energy roots of all of us in this circle.
      "We are coming together, forming a root ball deep within the Earth. As you breath in, feel the Earth energy rising up to form the trunk of our Dream Tree – our One Tree, soaring towards the sky, spreading its canopy to catch the light.
       "Now we are feeding on sunfire…”


-In this way, we wove our energies together in a Dream Tree that we intended to use as a base for visioning, from which we could scout in different directions to fulfill a common agenda: to find new ways to bring dreaming into our environments and communities all over the map.
    I suggested that during the drumming, we would all find our way to an observation deck or tree house high in the upper branches of the Dream Tree. We could look out from there to see what we needed to see, and zoom in on things we needed to study closely, or take flight like birds to visit places many looks away.
-   When I started the drumming, the energy form of the One Tree emerged vividly. I could feel it, see it, smell it. It was unlike any previous tree of vision I have used. It was an immense elder of the rainforest, as wide and tall as a skyscraper. Its lower trunk was alive with creeping and slithering things, including thousands of snakes, hard to tell apart from the creepers and strangler vines until they darted out.
-    I moved gingerly to a shelf high above where a giant white heron was perched, looking out over vast distances. I was shot out from there, to meet one elder tree after another - a great Douglas fir, an ancient oak, a mighty poplar, a wide banyan rooting itself again and again from its branches.
    They showed me scenes of pain and destruction in the landscapes they inhabit. I was made to watch clear-cutting in the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest, and to be present during brutal deforestation in Brazil, with great machines rending the Earth, and the stink of smoke and the cries of dying trees everywhere.
    The grief of the trees entered my being. It was like being made to witness the rape and butchery of innocents. Choking and sobbing, I had difficulty sustaining the beat of the drum.
-   I heard the voices of the tree elders. Their message, in different accents, was the same.

-You use trees for your dreaming.
The trees need humans to dream with them.
The trees are dying through the ignorance and greed of men,
and with them your world.
We need Tree Speakers to speak for the green world.
It is your duty to find them and give them voice and vision.

-  I want to reissue an invitation for members of our dreaming community all over the world to dream with the trees and discover what it would mean and require to become a Tree Speaker. We can embark on this – as my group did at Mosswood Hollow – by imagining ourselves coming together to create a Dream Tree, with a shared root ball deep in the Earth, and a place of vision high in the upper branches. 

photo: Great Stump at Mosswood Hollow (c) Robert Moss

An expanded version of this article appears in my book Active Dreaming: Journeying beyond Self-Limitation to a Life of Wild Freedom. Published by New World Library.