There has been only one topic of conversation outside in the natural world these last few months. The birds have been singing about it, the squirrels are chattering it, and the tree roots have been drumming it through the soil. How can we be the only ones who have no idea of what is coming? I had to ask my cat what was going on and get the blank incomprehension of “you don’t know? How can you not know what is going to happen? Pet me.” So what is going to happen? I ask. “It’s the end/beginning.”
Every spring the trees wake up and the flowers and plants rise out of the soil. The baby animals and insects are born and life takes a great leap from sleepiness to aliveness. So what’s so different this year?
This is the year, the first in many, many millennia that the Earth herself is waking up.* Think of it like this, we humans have been riding in an ocean on the back of a sleeping whale. The whale wakes up and takes off, choosing her own path and making her own decisions. We hang on for the ride and try not to fall off.
How embarrassing is it to need to have my cat explain this to me? We humans are so disconnected from the rest of life.
Every year when we take our dying Christmas tree down our cat Sophie mourns it going. She spends each Christmas near the tree, hiding behind it when it’s time to go out and spending time with it when she’s awake. This year when I watched her sitting with her head drooped down in the empty space where the tree had been I asked her why she was so sad, and how did she see the tree?
Sophie under her tree
For the time the tree was in our house she considered it an extra adult being, a large structure of light. While plants have their own energy around them, a Christmas tree has enough energy and more to match an adult human. A tree’s energy is love, frozen in the form of wood. This makes a Christmas tree more than a place to hang decorations; it actively contributes to the love in the house at a very loving time of year. Sophie liked to sit in quiet companionship with the tree during this busy time and the tree, it seemed, enjoyed her company in return, just as we humans enjoy our cat’s company.
Before we took our bare tree outside, we gathered around it and honoured it for its presence in our house. We actually sang ‘O Christmas Tree’ to it and its energy changed and dispersed, it finished dying before it was removed and the love remained in our home. I am grateful for everything I have received from trees over the years.