DSCF0263I have spent the last few days holding, beholding, and being held by a circle of women.  We are beginning our 5th year of seasonal gatherings with one another, seeded in our mutual longings for the nurturing soil of women’s hearts, our mutual love of the earth, our mutual hope for healing relationships.

Our roots, intertwining in that soil through the stories we share, bond us, communicating nurture through the ordinary and sublime, quotidian and remarkable, experiences of our lives. As fungal threads, in an intricate network of connection and communication beneath the surface of the earth, distribute carbon, water and nutrients from one tree to another depending on each individual’s needs,  likewise our shared stories somehow offer to each of our souls just what we need to survive and to thrive, building resilience in us all.

(learn about this underground network of communication between trees for survival here )

It is a mystery. Each time we come together, uncertain of what each of us has to offer, what each of us needs to receive, we trust in the hidden network to perform its magic.

At any given moment, one of us is like the Mother tree, her well-weathered wisdom, gleaned from seasons of sorrow and hope, extending the wide-reaching compassion of her story’s experience. Another’s blossoming love, upheld by us all, offers the sweet fragrance of beauty and hope. A third, her waterlogged roots seeking the soil of deep solace, is overwhelmed with the heaviness of her season of unrelenting pain.  Another is lush in her season of gathering light, offering shelter and sustenance to many; her branches full, she is feeling the need to let go. This sister is fruiting, the experiences of her life all ripening at once, she is juicy, prolific, abundant — on the cusp of release. That one’s naivete is green and bright, sending out fresh shoots of promise, while this one’s a riot of color, ablaze but sometimes confused. Here stands the sister of unknowing, not trusting her roots, she leans close to receive, in need of support while waiting. Beside her stands the sister of silence, her skeletal strength revealed. In her unencumbrance, she clearly sees but lets us dive deep for the truth that we seek, understanding that to offer too much is to make our roots shallow.

Each one of us growing through suffering and joy, our uniquely individual structures are beauties to behold…. a graceful curve of the trunk, a heart-shaped scar, a shed limb, a sturdy branch for a swing, the beginnings of a hole for a woodpecker’s delight, a fallen log rich with new life, the blood red blush of new buds.

There are others in my life, their roots comingled with mine as we grow strong in this valley together.  Still others whisper to me through far-reaching winds, bearing their message of oneness.  Together we hold onto the ground of our beings, keeping it for each other from eroding away.

We stand together as one.


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