There’s a section of the woods that I’m quite sure was actually a road a long time ago, with stone walls flanking each side and leading to broad areas overrun with new growth but not so much as to hide the crumbling remains of stone foundations and fireplaces. I love walking this path and anticipating the feeling of being someplace distinct that I always feel when I get there. It’s like another world now, but it’s not hard to imagine a world of connected homes and country community life in these woods.
Walking up that road today in the damp gray after rain, I felt guided by a thousand little lights. It was the first time I noticed the solid flanking of young beech trees along this road, some with the characteristic leaves hanging on still since last year, but most of them now sporting long sinewy buds that actually seemed to be glowing a subtle coppery light.
Eventually I found myself standing still, as if the light was making sound too. I got close to one of these buds, noticed the shimmer that seemed to float off of the tiny white hairs that were slipping out of the copper casing. Up close and personal with one of these buds was surreal. Heart stopping. Eerily reminiscent of a finger of some benevolent creature pointing, as if to say, look at all that gorgeous earth you get to stand on. How lucky are you?
I kept walking, but now my attention was swinging from one tree to the next. Some buds had begun to open and oh my, the intensity of unfolding green perfection was breathtaking in this state of becoming. Even as fully formed leaves, they shimmered and radiated in the filaments of light from which they came.
Then I saw an unusual flow emanating from just a single bud amongst this moment of flowing buds. It was a bud that had captured a drop of water, and with it, the life force contained within. All I can think of is that this reminds me of ET’s finger, reaching out and saying, ‘touch me’. Home.
I did a little reading about beech trees in this part of the world. I learned that beech and oak are considered evolutionarily delayed. They both can wait to drop their leaves until well into a next season, unlike their other deciduous brothers and sisters who have evolved in a system of shedding that helps replenish the richness of the earth each year. Isn’t it interesting that this hasn’t always been true? That like humans, trees too have evolved? That the conifers of the world were the only game in town in the beginning, as trees that never drop their leaves. And that now there are trees that have evolved into dropping all of their leaves. There are many theories about why this might be, but they all beg the question, is there any ecological advantage to being in-between?
I feel touched by ET’s finger today. As if awakening me to this in-between place, reminding me that in-between can be a state of mind too. It can be a place of resistance, of dark anger that is not ready to let go. And it can be a healing place, a small but significant source of light.
It can be a place that mediates and offers a safe place for much needed reflection.
And when ready, when it is time to let go, we can just let go, and know that what is released will go to a place where regeneration is possible.