The Language of Trees #trees #nature #mindfulness

On days when the temperature is above frigid, I don’t protest the dogs’ favorite habit stopping to gnaw at every single stick they encounter during our noontime walks. Instead, while they ravage the broken arms of trees to top off their stomaches already filled with lunch, I study the language of trees.

Winter is the season of dormancy, but also of exposure. By mid-February only a few stubborn bunches of withered brown oak leaves hang lifeless from the trees that bore them. The floor of the forest has long been taken over by the element of water, suspending time in its frozen form in a mosaic of matter in various stages of life and death.

A winter mosaic from today’s walk

The artful practice of mindfulness is everywhere in winter, urging the walker to slow down. To breathe. To be still and observe the state of stasis. I love winter because of its offering to be still. The other three seasons can overwhelm the senses, but not winter. Winter pulls the mind inward and begs it to find the magic always held within.

The watchful eye of a hemlock

There are days when I think winter is ugly and dreary. It stretches time here in the northeast in a way that tries patience. Yet, when I look closer, while the dogs feast on their finds, I find the magic of stillness revealing itself. Lately, this magic has taken the form of the language of the trees.

In truth, it is not the language of the trees itself that I read, but the story of the insect life that feasts upon them. I am in awe of the patterns. When I stop to read their art, I marvel at how each one is unique. It is a language of pictographic script that only the insect scribe understands, in truth, but it doesn’t stop the wondering mind from making an attempt.

31 thoughts on “The Language of Trees #trees #nature #mindfulness

  1. Hi Alethea, this is such a good post – I’ve never thought of winter walks as a time to be quiet and observe, especially the language of trees. I’m ashamed to say that during my winter walks, I’m mostly thinking about how cold I am and moving fast so I can get back inside. I’m going to try to be more mindful next time I go out. I agree that the other seasons have so many more things that distract the senses. Hope you are doing well. Just one more month of winter and today was a gorgeous day!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so glad you liked the post and it got you thinking about your winter walks. Mine are not always completely mindful. There are plenty of days when the cold, and/or the dogs, get the best of me. But, I’ve always loved the stillness of winter…I am looking forward to spring, though. Yes, today was a weather delight for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your insight about winter pulling the mind and begging it to “find the magic always held within.” Winter and trees have much to teach us. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with a stick obsessed dog. I worry about him choking on something, but he does enjoy tearing the sticks to pieces. Maybe the clean his teeth.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I had to chuckle when reading about your dog. He sounds just like my two, and I justify it the same way. I’m convinced it is cleaning their teeth. Miraculously they seem to digest all that bark okay.

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  3. I love trees and the magic found in nature! Living in Canada, I have struggled with the cold and harsh winters and for the most part, found myself hidden inside over the years. But what I didn’t realize was all the magic (and beautiful stillness, as you described) found outside, even in the midst of winter! I can proudly say now, after moving outside of the city and closer to nature, that I brave the cold winter days to get outside for winter walks among the trees. So much beauty during the winter… so much to witness! I just love your perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

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