in praise of trees

Posted on September 5, 2011


I stand in wonder and awe of trees.

If only I could live out the many life lessons that trees are speaking to me.

Am I listening?

1.  Trees are… trees

Trees stand tall with limbs reaching to the Light. They are what they are. They are what they were created to be. Nothing more… nothing less. No aires. No façade. No games. No hiding. No apology. No shame. Trees are… trees.

~ May I be the man I was created to be, living out my divine purpose on earth.

2.  Trees reach to the Light.

Trees seem to inherently know that the Light is their source of Life. If they did not take a stance of open reaching toward the sky to receive the life-giving Light that sustains their life, they would die. Light is Life for trees. So their existence is spent reaching toward Light and Life.

~ May I live with open hands, waiting to receive what I need to sustain my life.

3.  Trees openly reach but do not grasp.

Trees do not grab at the sunlight. They stand open to receive the sunlight that is given them. They do not run around gathering up enough rain for tomorrow. They receive what they are given for the moment. They receive their daily manna, taking nothing more or nothing less than what they need. They absorb what is given without grasping.

~ May I be content with what I have, what I’ve been given; nothing more, nothing less.

4.  Trees to not run after what they need.

Trees stand in confidence that they will receive what they need when they need it. Trees do not worry. Trees do not ask. They stand in open expectation that what they need will come to them.

~ May I not chase after the cares of the world, but set my heart to what is eternal.

5.  As trees reach to the sky, they stand in silence, waiting.

Trees stand in silent worship of the Creator. They know that the Creator knows what they need. There is no need for a prayer of words. A prayer of silent waiting is natural and all that is needed. They reach out in quiet expectation.

~ May I learn to pray and worship in silence; listening and waiting on God.

6.  As trees reach to the sky, they stand as a place of refuge.

Without discrimination, trees offer their limbs as a resting place for the weary, and a refuge for the battered wanderer. Anyone that comes may rest. If the day is too hot, there is shade. If the storm is raging, there is shelter.

~ May I always have a gentle and open spirit to those that come into my presence. May we “make our minds so like still water that beings gather around us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.” (William Butler Yeats from Earth, Fire, & Water).

7.  Trees gracefully endure the storms of life.

When the winds of life blow harshly through the branches of a tree, the tree does not tense up and resist. Instead of stiffness (which would snap) it remains flexible and pliable. The tree sways with the storm, dancing with the forces of nature. If it is overpowered, it unencumbers itself of leaves or a limb… so that the dance may continue.

~ May I stand without fear; facing the storms, embracing the darkness, kissing the tears of life, as I dance with life; letting go of all encumberances.

8. Trees adapt to the demands and expectations of life.

Not only do trees sway and dance with the forces of nature during a storm, but when the time comes when the Light is diminished and the warmth is gone, trees become dormant. They release their leaves to the earth and enter into a state of waiting… for the Light, for the Spring, for the warmth of the sun. They are flexible, adapting to the elements.

~ May I recognize and embrace those times in life when it is time to become silent, entering into a state of waiting, anticipating the Light that cannot be presently found.

9.  Trees continue beyond their living existence on earth, leaving a legacy.

Once their existence on this earth ends, in the great circle of life, trees leave behind what they were meant to leave. Some trees leave behind high quality wood that makes fine furniture. Some trees leave behind wood that solidly frames in homes. Some trees leave behind the warmth of a fire. And once what they have left behind comes to an end of its usefulness, they return to the earth, giving it the nourishment needed to grow another tree or plant. Trees never leave the earth. They continue in the endless circle of life, shifting from one form of existence to another.

~ May I seek to live fully on this earth, not missing anything; and then when my life on earth comes to an end, may my work here continue as a legacy of my divine purpose.

10.  Trees are to be praised.

Trees have so much to teach us about how life is to be lived. How do we live the life that wants to life in us? How do we fulfill our divine purpose here on earth? Trees stand as clear examples. Trees provide a sense of the Presence of God. Being in the presence of a great advise from a treetree, if we are awake and aware, is being in the Presence of the Creator. If we wish to commune with the God of the universe, a tree will lead us there. Trees stand as clear testimonies to the Great Creator, the artist behind the artwork, the Creator behind the creation.

~ May my life be like a tree, a living testimony of praise to this Greatness; to the Creator of this humble creature.

Psalm 1: Blessed is the person whose light and delight is in God. That person “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever that person does prospers”

With open hands … may I be a receiver and giver of Life and Light.

Related post:


If I look at a tree, I can say, “Oh look, a tree”. But if the person I am talking to has never seen, heard, or felt a tree, it is meaningless. The word “tree” is simply a sign or a symbol of the real thing. If a person has seen a tree, then there is meaning in the word for that person. If a person has heard and felt a tree, the meaning goes a bit deeper. If a person has cut down a tree and studied every aspect of it, then there is more understanding of a tree. But if a person has climbed into a tree and let the tree carry them in the wind, the meaning of tree for them is greater yet. Even then, there is still the mysterious aspects of trees that we cannot explain like what did the first tree look like, or where did it come from, or how exactly does growth happen.

So if a person has never seen a tree, words fall short of fully describing a tree. A scientist could write a 1000 page book about a tree, and still words would fall short of directly experiencing the real thing.


Many cultures throughout time give reference to the sacredness of trees. In many indigenous societies, sacred groves served as places of worship, open only to priests and priestesses who often lived in them, like the Druids of the ancient celtic world, whose belief system was deeply bound to the land.

Trees are still sacred. The human relationship with the tree is a part of our relationship to the natural world. Trees provide nutrients for other plants, they create mulch from their leaves that build up rich soils and they serve as a habitat to many insects, birds and other creatures.

Trees are everywhere � in the wilderness, fields, and towns. People naturally respond to them. They evoke a sense of calmness and grounded stability.

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