I stood looking at the magnificent structure of a tree today as if seeing it for the first time. The base, firmly grounded with its roots extending deep into the soil, is without question a thing of this earth. Like our bodies, which arise from the dust of earth and will surely return to dust again one day, the tree is an earthbound creation of this physical realm. Planted firmly within the ground, the tree draws nutrients and sustenance from the rich, dark earth for its material form. But something else entirely, something unseen, compels the tree to reach upward toward the light.
Extending from its broad earthly base, the tree pulls my gaze upward some two hundred feet into the sky, whereupon the tree transcends its solidity into ever smaller branches, in every direction imaginable giving way to a feeling of infinite possibility. I stood transfixed in that moment, taken by awe and by a sudden understanding.
The proliferation of gently swaying leaves feels both abundant and light at the same time and contrasts with the steadfast bulky trunk. The leaves differentiate further than I can see, enlightened enough to commune and exchange with the light of the sky and the whimsy of air all around.
The leaves do not keep their divine treasures to themselves; the trunk and the leaves share with each other, neither competing with the other for space and time or for who is better. The solid sustenance of earth and the unseen elements of the sky come together in perfect balance in the one tree of life.
I stood there under the majestic canopy basking in filtered sunlight in complete and utter transformation. I felt a perceptible shift as if by example, the tree took me along with it to its heightened state. In one gaze, the tree stood perfectly, both firmly rooted to earth and at the same time soft and flexible, reaching higher, connected to the divine, a reminder of our own duality and the way we are designed to work. In that blissful moment I understood again what it means to find ourselves in nature and I saw the tree for the first time.