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treeIt was Friday the 13th and I woke up thinking, “Yep, it’s just a regular ol’ Friday.” Getting dressed for my favorite yoga class of the week, I heard a voice inside my head that said, “Long walk. Long walk.” Arguing with the guidance I was receiving, I said, “No long walk! This is the class with drumming, body tapping and deep meditation. I love yoga Fridays!”

But again I heard, “Long walk, long walk.” I guess this wasn’t any ol’ Friday after all. Feeling confused, but knowing that I had to honor what I was getting, I dressed for the February artic chill and headed out the door. Ear buds in place, I was listening to soul-centered music that danced in the nooks and crannies of my awakening brain and beginning to surrender into my choice of following my intuition and not my logic. I said to myself, “OK Universe, I’ll take the long route today,” a 1 hour loop from start to finish. “This way, I can visit my friend,” the giant Beech tree on Bradford Rd.

About 10 minutes in, I get a call from my buddy, an amazing healer, Kay, who was sharing her perspective on being a single Mom with her bully of an ex-husband, who continuously creates havoc in her and their children’s lives. With frustration, she blurted out, “I just don’t know how to fix this!” Within minutes, we had the realization that she was stuck in the energy vibration of ‘not knowing how to fix this’ and therefore was finding herself experiencing a lot more situations that seemed impossible to fix.

In her “Ah ha” moment, I felt her energy expand out as she was experiencing her own surrender. I, too, was receiving a healing, one that my brain couldn’t explain but that my body knew and was thankful for. We were both gliding along on the energy of awareness, self-realization and presence. “Yep,” I thought to myself, “I definitely wasn’t supposed to go to yoga today.”

Turning the corner on Bradford Rd, I felt the familiar rush of excitement because, within seconds, I would be greeting my gargantuan friend. I didn’t know anything about this tree, but due to his enormous size, I surmised that he had to be very old indeed. Being empathic, I certainly sensed his wisdom and loving spirit. For years, while ambling by, I have said, “Good morning tree, you are looking wonderful today.” In response, I always got the warmest ASMR-like* tingles down my spine, as if he was shaking down some stardust from his tallest branches.

A year ago, during one of my long walks, I was on the phone with another healer friend of mine, Tom, whom my buddy Kay had introduced me to. As I strolled underneath the gentle giant, I told him about my love for this tree, when, out of the blue, I heard the faintest whisper, “Connect to my heart.” I told Tom what I had heard. Like myself, he has had many astonishing moments with trees and nature throughout his life. In fact, it was Tom who taught me how to locate a tree’s heart and ask for it’s healing energy. As I stood ‘with’ Tom under this massive healer, we instantaneously felt a powerful vibration fill our hearts and bodies. Being in awe of the amount of affectionate and tender energy we had just received, we were filled with gratitude and spent the rest of the day floating on a cloud of wonder and reverence.

OK, I left you suspended on Bradford Rd on Friday the 13th. I’m still on the phone with Kay, when quite abruptly, I yelped in horror, and, very surprised by my own sudden emotion, instantly burst into tears. She thought I was hit by a car, and exclaimed, “Tamara, are you OK!?” So stunned and unprepared by what I was witnessing, I was speechless as tears rolled down my cheeks. Feeling Kay’s alarm, I finally choked out, “I’m fine, I’m fine, but my tree! My friend!” and described the scene that I was witnessing – 2 men with chain saws, cutting into the enormous trunk that was lying on the ground, chopping it into smaller, yet still huge pieces and using a crane to get the chunks into their dump truck. The loss I was feeling was instant and palpable.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man watching me, witnessing the shocked expression on my face. When making eye contact, he scooted his car closer to where I was standing in the street. Rolling down his window and with choked-up sentiment, he said, “This is a very sad day for me, too”. He introduced himself as Stephen from the company, SavATree, and explained that he has nurtured and cared for this gorgeous Beech for 15 years. “Why was he cut down?” I squeaked out, still filled with emotion. Stephen said, “The tree died this past Fall, leaving the owner heartbroken. She needed time to say goodbye, but finally gave us the go ahead to take him down.”

Beginning to release the tension in my jaw and shoulders, I began to feel better, even though I still felt very sad. Gradually, it all started coming back to me, that moment 3 months ago when I looked up and saw only brown leaves, not green, and while shaking off the thought that maybe the Beech was departing this earth. Stephen went on to share that the owner bought the house because of this tree, feeling compelled to live near such a wonderful specimen of history and character. I felt even better knowing that the owner cherished this gorgeous soul as much as I did, if not even more. Along with many neighbors in this community, Stephen loved this tree, too. There was no way anyone could walk by without taking in its grandeur and being moved by the marvels of nature. I am sure that throughout the years, there have been many people who have been deeply touched, and even transformed by this tree.

I thanked Stephen for helping me understand what was going on. As we bid a friendly farewell, I felt a sense of peace flood over me as I initiated my return home. So engrossed in my conversation with this kind man, I didn’t realize the phone line with my buddy was still open. “Kay, are you there?” She responded with some sniffles and said, “I am moved to tears by what I just overheard. What an incredible tree.” We conversed as I walked home, pondering the phenomenon of synchronicity. It was yet even clearer why I was not to go to my yoga class that day. I wouldn’t have understood why the tree had to come down nor would I have heard about the people who have loved and nurtured it throughout the years. About 10 minutes later, Kay blurted out, with vehemence, “Tamara, you have to go back and ask that good man for a piece of that tree, as a token of what it represents for you.” Through Kay, I knew that I was receiving more guidance. This time, I didn’t argue and immediately headed back to Stephen and my fallen pal.

As I approached his car, he welcomed me with his affable smile. For the next 20 minutes, I learned more about our wooded friend. Not a native to the US, this European Beech (Fagus Sylvatica) lived 150 years, a typical life span of this particular specie. When I asked if he died of old age, this Arborist replied, “Yes and no. Very old European Beech trees are extremely susceptible to bores, wood decay, fungi and Phytophthora Bleeding Canker, which this tree had finally succumbed to.” With fondness, Stephen spoke about other ancient trees in our area. He talked about Susie, the owner, who truly loved this tree with all her heart. When asking him for a memento, he said, “I’ll do better than that, Tamara. Give me your address and I’ll deliver a keepsake to your door.” Filled with gratitude, I thanked him and finally made my way home.

Within 1 hour, I received, at my front porch, a gift of a lifetime, a beautiful section of one of the tree’s limbs (see photo). To my delighted surprise, the dark spot near the center of the specimen looked to me like a heart with an arrow through it, my all-time favorite symbol (not to mention we were 1 day away from Valentine’s Day). Also astonishing, Kay, without even knowing what was being delivered, had emailed an image of a tree with a heart in its center.

What a magical morning this has been. Unlike what Friday the 13th usually signifies, this morning was neither spooky nor dark, but one of heart-felt emotion, healing, kindness, synchronicity, honor, guidance, reverence and excitement. For all of us who knew and loved this European Beech, we may have lost a friend, but have gained a deeper understanding and connection to our souls.

My Gratitude:

To the owner, Susie, who has loved and valued this tree, and in doing so, gave the neighborhood a relic of healing love.

To Stephen Skyer, who passionately treasures and cares for our wooded friends. Please visit his website and find more details on Stephen and other heroes like him at SavATree.

To Kay and Tom, who share my love and appreciation for all trees on this earth.

To the European Beech, for all you have given us throughout your lovely life, it has not gone unnoticed. You will be cherished for years to come.

* Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a physical sensation characterized by a pleasurable tingling that typically begins in the head and scalp, and often moves down the spine and through the limbs. 

“And the boy loved the tree…….very much. And the tree was happy.”
Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree


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