The One Tree. It has many branches–countless branches that reach towards the heavens. It is ancient, wise. Leaves come and go with the changing of the seasons.
The One Tree’s roots dig deep into the rich earth beneath it. Its roots gather nourishment from the deep, dark places.
It continues to grow.
The One Tree’s branches are flung high, thirsty for more, leaves budding and drinking in the sun.
The trunk is huge with knots from old branches it has shed, with blisters of dried sap where a beetle has bored or where a woodpecker has drilled.
There are those that say the One Tree was at one time, two trees. Perhaps that is so, for if you were to look hard, you could imagine the intertwining of two, becoming one. But then, it could also be the way that the ancient tree has grown. It is left to the individual imagination.
Some say that the One Tree has always been, that it was never a seedling with tender branches. But then, that is not the way of things. Or is it? The tree is so ancient, that no one alive ever saw it planted, and nobody can ever remember anyone who did.
Go to the Tree, settle into its roots and stay to contemplate. Perhaps you, too, can gather nourishment and power from the deep, dark places.
Some say if you stay too long, you are in danger of becoming a part of the Tree–becoming so lost in your dreams you don’t notice its roots lacing around you and its trunk engulfing you, muffling your cries until there is no longer a need to cry. But, again, nobody can remember anyone that did.
In the branches far above are prayers like ribbons. Prayers for babies, lovers, wealth, good crops, safety, health—all kinds of prayers. Some ribbons are old and faded; some are new and bright. Those that can, flutter and dance when the wind catches them. The Rainbow Mist embraces them all.
The One Tree is a good climbing tree. The trunk is so gnarled there are natural footholds and handholds all the way to the higher branches. The branches are strong. There are many crooks just waiting for a body to nestle into. In full summer with the broad leaves unfurled, it is easy to hide from prying eyes far below. In winter, it is another story. In winter, the view from high up amongst the bare branches is spectacular. But the timid remain on the ground.
Children love the Tree. They scamper up and down its branches like squirrels. The Tree seems to appreciate their fearlessness.
No child has ever fallen from the One Tree.
Trust the children to know.
If you come up close, put your cheek upon the ancient bark, close your eyes and still your breathing, you can match the timeless flow of the sap. As you feel the rough bark beneath your fingertips, the wind toying with your hair, and the rich loam at your feet, you begin to relax. You listen to the sounds of the wind through the branches, imagining the soft tinkle of a shell or chime left as an offering. The tannins in the bark and the rich oxygen from the leaves fill your nostrils.
If you stay very still… and quiet, if you rest there like that—leaning against the One Tree,
…you begin to understand what it’s like…