A Forested Piece of Mike's Mind...

By request, my column this month is portions of the TREES sermon from August 1st.

Elif Shafak, the brilliant Turkish/British author, in a perspective-taking experiment wrote:  

Humans do not see trees. They walk by us every day. They sit and sleep, smoke and picnic and secretly kiss in our shade. 

They pluck our leaves and gorge on our fruits. They break our branches or carve their lover's name on our trunks with their blades and vow eternal love. They weave necklaces out of our needles and paint our flowers into art. They split us into logs to heat their homes, and sometimes they chop us down just because they think we obstruct their view. They make cradles, wine corks, chewing gum, rustic furniture and produce the most beautiful music out of us. And they turn us into books in which they bury themselves on cold winter nights. They use our wood to manufacture coffins in which they end their lives. And they even compose the most romantic poems for us, claiming we're the link between earth and sky. And yet, they do not see us.           

…Here’s why we’re talking about trees today.  I have come to believe that trees, learning about trees, learning from trees, letting the spirit of trees into our own spirits, bodies, and souls, understanding trees, communing with trees, protecting trees, is a relatively accessible and a beautiful way to decolonize our minds.  Trees, are an accessible and a beautiful way for human beings who care, people like you and me, to start to reposition ourselves, change and expand our consciousness, reexamine our assumptions about where we stand in relation to the non-human world, where we stand in relation to each other, where we stand in relation to God, and what any god worth worshiping actually wants from us.  It’s not colonization.  I think if there’s a God, God would want us to see trees.  Really see them.

You know, the bible was written by humans from human perspective.  The garden of Eden, go forth and multiply, subdue the earth, and all that destructive nonsense.  I’ve been wondering, what would that same story sound like if it were told from the perspective of the trees in the Garden of Eden?  The Tree of Life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

How would trees write that story?

In my imagination, the tree of Life, the mother of all trees, which always wants to grow and evolve, starts feeling that things are too static in the garden, so it sets some things in motion.  She arranges, conspires with the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and with the sunlight and water and nutrients in the soil to grow some beautiful fruit, pleasing to the eye.  She arranges with the soil and the other local plants to have things around that the snake would like, so the snake starts hanging around.  Very patiently, slowly, inexorably, she works things out with God so that the woman and the snake and the fruit all converge, a genesis of conditions that results in knowledge being shared.  And knowledge, having been shared, must be spread, as the Tree of Life knew all along.

In this version of the story, it was the trees all along, quietly using all the resources in the environment, including the clueless humans, to make it so knowledge can escape the static garden, go out and create a whole new world.

In deep green faith,

Mike

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