“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers.
I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves.
And even more I revere them when they stand alone.
They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.”
Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte
No hard benches for me, or pulpits, altars or holy books,
give me skies of blue with cirrus wisps that scribble truths.
Gatherings of trees are my sangha, age old wisdom expounded
from the roughened bark and steadfast trunks that abide in calmness.
Their messages aren’t harsh and do not tell of hell and brimstone death
but instead teach trust in their brethren and nature as teachers.
Leaves and boughs happily greet as the breeze gently lifts in a
tender, quiet song of connected joy that is shared with those below.
Peace and harmony reign here in this sacred space of believers.
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers.”
Their serenity is multiplied when gathered in great throngs.
There is no jostling for favoritism or pushing aside of others
so that they may be held in higher esteem; trees teach humility.
It is hallowed ground that supports trees. I whisper in their midst.
You, I venerate as I sit at your feet and feel your gifts permeate my soul.
Quiet, meditating in one place…be still, find earth’s hidden treasure troves.
Strong, yet yielding in the face of seasons’ harshness; I bow O Masters.
My heart is restored and a reverence is imparted to me that uplifts.
Mystical beings dance and play among your holy, secret alcoves.
“I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves.”
Isolated or living apart from one another, trees lift their limbs in resilience.
Though alone, rooted to the ground, they are visited and inhabited by
birds, animals, myriad bugs and even air plants that join them.
Stoic and steadfast is the solitary sentinel.
When separate and alone they stand like quiet beacons in the fog.
Having no others to entangle their branches, they sometimes feel unknown.
They stretch and reach out and up, vainly feeling for a neighbor.
But do their hearts languish or brood when kept to themselves?
O lone willow whose drooping branches caress a pond, here you are sown.
“And even more I revere them when they stand alone.”
Patience and endurance rule in the heart of the ancient oak.
Wisdom reflects from her heart where the Great Horned Owl resides.
Distinguished, with ancient ties to Vikings and Tigers, she rests.
These Masters of Stillness have taught contemplation since millennia.
Like the Crane poised to strike a fish, they wait in silence.
They draw strength from the community of all species.
Their brilliance is oftentimes overshadowed by their infinite modesty and grace.
The hum of om strums through their leaves gaining strength on the wind that then plays out into the universe.
These stately, wizened beings spend their lives in harmony, no need for treaties.
© 2017, poem, Gayle Walters Rose; photograph, 2017, Jamie Dedes
“They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.”
*Standing Post is a martial arts form based in Chi Kung. This Glosa was inspired by a dear friend who has mastered this form.
One thought on “Standing Post: Trees in Practice”
Wow, Gayle, this piece is stunning. I ad to re-read it just to enjoy the complexity and truth of it. You managed to capture in words the feelings that I share with you about trees…I’m humbled by how well said this is. Thank you so much for sharing this with us here this month! 🙂 I *love* this. In fact, I think it is my favorite out of everything I’ve ever read of yours.