The Gotcha Tree

One thing I’ve observed about life as an animal communicator: it’s not all about animal communication. I am learning that once you are open to communicating with the animals, other sentient beings want to get in on the band wagon and start communicating. After all, they’ve found someone with a listening ear, so why not?

So, in my experience, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from conversing with animals to conversing with plants, stones and trees. And the stories that can come from this!

What The Tree Said

Last summer I was living in the midst of cornfields in Illinois. Every time I would go into town I would pass a solitaire tree by a cornfield, bending toward the road.

I never felt comfortable passing the tree. I chided myself for being ridiculous, for letting my imagination get the better of me. I told myself “it’s just a tree, get over it. What’s it going to do, jump out, grab me and yell ‘Gotcha’?” Silly me.

This road was not well traveled, usually I was the only car on it. I must admit, there was a tiny part of me that thought, “Well, if the tree is going to grab me, this would be the place to do it”.

One day as I was passing the tree, I could have sworn it reached out and said ‘Gotcha!’ and not in the good way. I started paying attention to what I was feeling as I passed the tree, and noticed I would pull my energy in. Not only that, but I would steer the car away from the tree, sometimes even crossing the center line to put distance between myself and the tree.

I was in the far lane from the tree one day and it felt like the tree leaned over, reached out and said “You’re not clooooose enough……”.

I can’t imagine why visions of the witch from Hansel and Gretel popped into my mind.

How Do You Approach A Tree?

At that time, I was feeling overwhelmed with life. I had just left Minnesota, my home for 30 years and I had no idea what was going on, where I would end up living. I ‘coincidentally’ came across the book Gift of the Dreamtime: Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma by modern shaman and animist S. Kelley Harrell. Who better to ask about this seemingly recalcitrant tree than a shaman?

I set up an appointment with Kelley and told her my experiences with the tree, making light of what I was experiencing. Luckily, Kelley took everything I said quite seriously.

Kelley talked about the traumas the tree had suffered at the hands of unmindful humans, causing the tree to lump all humans into the same category. She talked about the anger and mistrust the tree was experiencing (I don’t mean to anthropomorphise the tree, but I don’t know how else to express this).

I asked Kelley if I could help the tree in any way, and she helped me devise a plan, which included setting my boundaries with the tree, standing strong in my boundaries and leaving the tree if I felt it necessary.

Me And The Tree

In my mind I set up the day and the time I would physically approach the tree, giving myself a couple of days to firm up the plan and to let the tree know what I was thinking. I created an offering for the tree comprised of tea leaves and cedar, and also I had a turquoise and black tourmaline necklace I planned on leaving by the tree as a gift.

The day came, I parked my car off the road, got out, walked down the incline, through a thistle patch and up to the tree, standing a short distance away. I told the tree I didn’t know what s/he had experienced at the hands of humans and it wasn’t necessary for me to know. But I did want to let him/her know that not all humans are like that, there are those of us who respect our non-human kin, and I was sorry for those experiences which had caused the tree to become (from my perspective) a ‘gotcha’ tree. I moved to stand next to the tree, put my hand on the tree and offered the gifts I brought, leaving them on the ground by the tree.

I turned and left, the entire experience was short and sweet.

The Reciprocity of Tree

The one thing I had not taken into consideration was how I would dress for this occasion. So I was wearing a long skirt and sandals, which I realized was really silly of me when I started walking up the incline, lost my footing in the thistle patch and started sliding back. There happened to be a big, dead branch there, that tree had shed. I slid into the the branch, which not only kept me upright, but gave me a chance to regain my balance. Tree was lending me a helping branch.

Thereafter, each time I drove past the tree, it was like s/he was standing straighter and farther away from the road. I never again had the feeling the tree was reaching out and saying ‘gotcha’, or that I needed to put distance between myself and the tree.

My Imagination Or Not?

You decide for yourself. All I can tell you is this is what I experienced, I have friends who have had similar experiences (not necessarily ‘gotcha’) and interactions with non-human beings. The possibility of experiencing occurrences like this can multiply when we humans step away from our human-only perspective.

Have you experienced something similar? Not necessarily a ‘gotcha’ experience, but an experience with a non-human being? I’d love to hear – leave a comment!

Here’s To New Beginnings,

Janet