Befriending the trees involves slowing down in order to connect with them. We live in a world where we move fast, keep our heads down, and our success is often measured by wealth and material belongings. The world of the trees moves slowly, with their heads up towards the sun, with success measured by how deeply they embody presence, by how effeciently they receive light. The trees have much to teach us.
A good place for us to begin is by finding a tree (preferrably native to our area) that grows close to where we spend our time. I’m not encouraging you to find an amazing tree in a far away forest that you can visit once each year. I’m encouraging you to find a tree that is close by, conviently located, and that you can visit often.
Once you have found your tree, get to know it. Feel the texture of the leaves and bark. Crush the leaves and smell them. You could take a branch of the tree home and draw it as a way of studying the intricacies of the growth patterns. But most importantly, go put your hands on the tree and open your heart. There is a tremendous amount that is accessible to us when we open our hearts in the presence of trees. Lay your chest on the tree and breathe. Feel your heartbeat merging with the steady beat of the tree. Thank the tree for its love and light and gifts. Rest in this place of connection. Over time, as you return again and again, you will begin to feel how this tree recognizes you in its embrace and willingness to connect.