“When I Am Among the Trees”

My Swedish family holiday has come to an end, with everyone alive and well. As a reward to myself, therefore, I’m spending a few days alone at a small country hotel in Wiltshire.

I’ve come here to read, write, walk in nature and recharge my batteries for the autumn. I’ve been here several times before so I’m very familiar with the hotel, its staff and its surroundings.

FullSizeRender copy 2The rain poured down as I arrived yesterday afternoon, but by the morning the sun had managed to break through the clouds. As soon as I’d finished breakfast, therefore, I went for a stroll in the tree-rich grounds of the hotel.

The grass was still very wet so my canvas trainers soon got soaked. But I kept walking.

For I’d come to greet a very special tree – special to me that is. It’s by no means the grandest tree here but it’s the one I know best.

Once there, I put my hands gently on itsrough, knobbly, trunk, closed my eyes and inhaled deeply.FullSizeRender


Because over the years I’ve come to appreciate that trees have a tremendous ability to get me out of my head and into my heart.

Mindfully breathing in the fresh oxygen produced by trees is in itself healing and restorative.

The different shades of green foliage have a gentle, soothing effect and the trunk of the tree, which connects the leafy crown with its roots, reminds me to stay grounded.

If it weren’t for a wise and fabulously intuitive lady called Alice, I may not have discovered the healing nature of trees.

The first time we met she gazed at me for a while in silence and then said,

‘There’s something about you and trees. Go out and be with trees.’

I followed her advice and very soon discovered that trees are not just beautiful to look at, they also help me connect with my deep, authentic self.FullSizeRender copy 3

By spending time in nature and especially being close to trees, I began to experience wholeness for the first time in my life.

Trees, I feel, epitomise the very essence of beingness and wholeness. They are who they are. And they make no apologies for it.

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When I Am Among the Trees, by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”


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4 thoughts on ““When I Am Among the Trees”

  1. Rae Hight August 22, 2015 / 5:17 pm

    Jenny, this entry held my heart and reminded me of these special relationships. Reading of your one tree, in particular, as a special companion – not the “grandest,” but the one that held out its wisdom to you – was a reminder of how to listen to our own inner wisdom. Thank you for this beautiful entry – and the enchanting Mary Oliver poem! Rae


  2. Julia August 27, 2015 / 1:47 pm

    Inspiring! And I’m right there with you in loving trees and their whole beingness 🙂


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