Thursday, April 21, 2011

Singing for the Trees, Earth Day and Every Day

One of my very earliest memories is standing at the screen-door of my childhood home on a sunny summer's day and looking up up up into the branches of the huge old maple trees in our yard. Their leaves were dancing in a lively wind, and their wind-song coming down to me I heard echoed in the waves of the ocean years later.

I'm willing to bet that nearly everyone (more likely everyone!) reading this post has a favorite tree in her or his life, whether it's one from your childhood or presently...hopefully both! And I don't think I'm going out on a limb here <yes, deliberate pun!> to say that "your tree" is special to you for far more than just its sturdy presence and beauty, but for the personal connection you feel standing beside it, and also the sense it's very much enjoying your company too. When news looms of yet more concern over the clear-cutting of the world's forests, the devastation of the rain forests, patting the trunk of your Tree for reassurance, yours and the Tree's, is something I hope you do.

I'm composing this on the eve of Earth Day's 41st celebration. As a college student in 1970, I helped organize a marvelous community-wide Earth Day, and will always count this as one of my most memorable college experiences. Thank goodness for the consciousness-raising and so many other wonderful developments that have sprung from these 40 years of Earth Days.  Early this Spring I learned of a new and marvelous event that honors the Earth's trees, "Sing for the Trees", the creative inspiration of Susan Elizabeth Hale of Weaverville, North Carolina.

It's beautiful and delightful in its simplicity. Sometime between noon and 3 PM in your time zone, show up at your favorite tree(s) alone or with others who wish to join in on the fun, and share some time with that beautiful Tree-Being.  Susan encourages all of us to sing (or maybe tone a note) and offers this great list of reasons to do so...that singing to your tree(s):
* Helps create community
* Gives us a way to have a voice in saving what we love
* Is an offering of our life force and spirit
* Connects us to ancient traditions
* Nourishes trees by giving them carbon dioxide
* Is part of the joy of being human
* Helps us relax and tune into nature and to each other
* Reminds us we are part of the chorus of life

In 2010, 30,000 people in 39 countries and 30 states sang to trees. One person from Switzerland wrote to Susan, "Just letting you know, that since we sang and danced with the trees with the kindergarten children a few weeks ago, many of them are spontaneously doing this ritual every Thursday afternoon when we go back to the forest."
Such a marvelous outcome among many sent to her, but precisely how it works and what it might do shouldn't matter. Consider Chief Seattle's well-known words, that we two-leggeds are an integral part of the Web of Life, and that whatever we do affects this Web for good or ill. Tomorrow, all over the Earth, thousands and thousands of people will be putting forth songs for trees, and toning, and smiles, and lots of lingering tree-hugging.  I do think it then highly possible, that by nightfall in your time zone, you might well feel somehow uplifted.

This month's fast-pace has made this a last-minute post. I've been fretting that the delay would mean not many people would learn through me about "Sing for the Trees".  But as a tree's calendar is the slow turning of the Wheel of the Year, my favorite local tree whispered to me this morning, "All in good time!" And of course, there is no expiration date on this. On any given day, there's a tree who'd be so very pleased with your presence and your Song.

Here's a link to Susan's web internet visit that I know you will enjoy:

(The photo at top is of some of my Tree Family here on Round Top Hill. They send their "best regards" for Earth Day!)