It was a graceful willow tree that called to me. When the world got too confusing and too noisy, I would sit in the open hand of my tree to feel its comfort and to feel connected to something bigger than myself. The rustling leaves offered soft approvals and I would feel a presence I could not name. The tree became my regular go-to for prayer, strength and guidance. But it was inevitable that I would grow up and soon my encounters with my tree became less and less frequent.
Then one memorable evening I recall lingering a bit longer enjoying a bright starlit sky. Silhouetted against the night sky, my tree stood taller than I remembered. A summer breeze rippled through the air and my willow tree swayed low. It seemed to nod reverently to me.
I nodded back.
It felt like a farewell . . .
I moved away. Twenty or so years sped by. My parents sold the house and moved to a sunshine state. The house that my dad built had become shelter to a succession of other families, coming and going. The house fell into disrepair, mirroring the condition of my soul.
Living thousands of miles from my home state with few opportunities to visit, I finally had the opportunity to visit my hometown. For years, I was separated from my roots by more than miles. I was a long way away from the lessons of my youth and I left behind that “presence” that nurtured me so long ago.
The day finally arrived for that reunion. It was a crisp September afternoon with a bright sun blinking through old yellowing trees that lined the drab patchy-paved street. I drove slowly down my old street taking in the familiar houses, noting any changes. As I approached my house on the unpretentious street I stopped to gaze at the familiar red brick house with green shutters which had seen better days. But not for long. Something else took my breath away.
My eyes were quickly drawn to the field next to the house where my willow tree stood tall and stately. It was there waving in the slight breeze. Steadfast. Loyal. And ever present. I felt as though it had been waiting for me. And without any reservation, I gasped aloud and spoke outright,
“You are still here!“
And this is what I heard . . .
"Lo, I am with you always."
**Timeless Presence is an excerpt from the book, The Nature Whisperer: Seasons of Light.