TreesI have a thing for trees. It turns out a lot of people secretly do.

Most mornings I take my dog to a local wooded area, where I often meet up with a friend and her dog. Somewhere early in our six-year dog-walking friendship we realized, much to our surprise, that we each had a special, non-descript tree in the forest. Hers is called “Lily’s Tree” after an early dog. Mine is called “Toby’s Tree” after one of mine. OK, we aren’t 10-year-old kids. We are both professionals and baby boomers. For each of us, it is the tree we walk over to when we are having a bad day, or are in need of clarity for a tough decision, or could use some solace at a lonely time. We were surprised the other had a similar ritual.

One of the beauties of Unitarian Universalism is the free exploration of what constitutes the Sacred or Divine. The downside is the risk of not doing any exploration.

In Wellspring we encourage a discipline of intentionally cultivating that personal portal or doorway to the universal experience of connection and love. For some it might be a genre of music. Or waves on a beach. A night sky. Maybe a photo of one’s beloved grandmother. Or the laugh of a grandchild.

Mine is trees. Certain trees. I’ve had a series of them over my six decades that have connected me to the Divine. It started with the pine grove when I was six years old. Then the birches. The spindly hemlock. The copper beech. The bent-over rhododendron. The majestic white oak. In a pinch, I even find them outside hotels when I travel. Come to think of it, part of me thinks they find me. I know they don’t have eyes, but I actually feel seen, understood, held, and loved by those trees.

Needless to say, I’ve memorized Mary Oliver’s poem, When I Am Among the Trees. The line, “I would almost say they save me, and daily” feels literally true for me.

What is your doorway to the Sacred? How might you honor and celebrate your unique connection?

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