Every week I walk at the Ashokan Reservoir a couple miles from my house. One day as I was walking through a wooded area there, I felt drawn to a particular large tree. There was no one else on the trail, so I went to the tree and put my arms around it for a few minutes. It felt solid and strong, and I liked that.
From then on, each time I passed the tree, if there was no one around, I hugged it for a short time. Somehow I just felt a connection to it.
Then one time as I was hugging the tree, I began to feel myself dissolve into something that sparkled, and the tree dissolved too. Our sparkles intertwined; I didn’t feel my body or the tree, I just felt our quiet essences that spiraled and shone together. It was a very heady and precious experience. After a few minutes the feeling subsided, and I thanked the tree and walked on.
I have read that trees communicate with each other through their root systems by means of chemical interactions. If one tree is attacked by a predator or a disease, it alerts its neighboring trees, and the other trees begin to release chemicals to ward off the attack. This has been shown scientifically. But I wonder if trees and plants also communicate in ways that we haven’t been able to measure.
Did “my” tree feel my essence? Did the other trees in that forest know of our connection, and did they feel it too? I have no idea. But I do believe that the spirit of all living beings may be conscious to a far greater extent than we can imagine. I choose to honor that consciousness and to let it touch me deeply. My life is richer because of that choice, and I feel an increasing connection to all of life.