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My Turn
by Myrkrida

Imbolc 2002, Vol 1-2
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Groves of Becoming, A Daughter of the Oak:
Musings on Tree and Staff

Oak trees are hard to grow under, even for their daughters. The shade is deep, and the leaf litter is intense.

But out on the periphery where the canopy ends, the acorns fall and root, watching the squirrels recycle the ones which fall deep inside the shelter. The daughters out on the edge of the mother tree reach for the light of the outer world which the mother tree holds up off their shoulders.

Time happens, and the old tree dies, and the canopy opens, and around the old one's place a grove of daughters grows, and their canopy arches over the place their mother held, and then, the women come, into the place that the mother oak opened for them, by transforming into her next existence. The old tree, for them, is a softness and kindness underfoot.

Is this what is meant by, "I'd rather be a forest than a street? I am a daughter of the high plains, where trees are priceless. The trees that survive there are the ones who know what it is to stand alone. They also know what it is to endure decades of blizzards and fires, waiting for a sister to commit her roots alongside. They know that it is enough just to live, even alone. Waiting, whether for daughters or for sisters, is the highest enactment of beingness, and I acknowledge these high beings among us, the ones we call tree. In them, I see that waiting is a statement of radical belief -- life is something that is dared, be it on the edge of freezing or on the edge of the shadow of the mother tree.

staffSeeking a Staff of Becoming. I approach an oak, looking to collect a staff from a tree being. As I meditate, I ask myself: "What if the staff I craft from the wood of the grove is not my tool, but the tool intended for me? What if I seek not a staff to support me, or to serve me, but a higher beingness, an energy that will direct me to the next step necessary for my own growth, for a return to the realities of roots under the grove?"

I know that the staff I collect will carry the knowledge that serves the urges that build forests and communities, and, where realities are harder, the grasslands beloved of the bison, sparely treed. I ask myself: Can I dare to hope that my staff will be the tool of my transformation? Can I become a being who lives knowing that she dares, knowing that daring is intrinsic to life? Could I ask for a greater gift from one of the magnificent oaks who offers me a staff? Could I think to dare it of my own volition? Of my own, would I dream so far? If I grip the staff made of a tree, will I dare to hold on when it begins to exert its magic on me? Dare I give up my illusion of being remote and removed, outside the cauldron of change? Dare I follow my staff and become intertwined with the forest, with the beingness of trees, become intimate with the parameters that shape the highest of beings? What if those who cut down forests then cut me also? Will I release my hold on the sacred staff to appease them, and forget all the existences that the staff leads me toward?

Sometimes, for some of us, the trees talk back. I have a staff now, and I trip over it. I don't often hear the staff talking to me, but usually when I trip, it's one of those moments when I happen to be going where I wasn't supposed to go.

Graphics Credits
acorns and leaves, Adam Hart-Davis, DHD Photo Gallery
oak savannah, Microsoft Design Gallery Live
staff, Copyright © Sage Starwalker/nel 2002. All rights reserved.

Further Resources
Sacred Groves and Sacred Trees of Uttara Kannada
Celtic Tree Calendar
The Blue Roebuck's Sacred Trees -- Oak