Warm sun, cool breeze and the song of the birds enliven the deepening into mama earths guidance. What you see of these trees is two years of growth on 40 year old stumps. In traditional avocado management the practice is to let the trees grow tall and after ten years they are cut all the way back to generate new healthy growth. Alternatively we're implementing a practice of keeping the avos trimmed every year to stimulate a longer lasting sustainable vitality and larger fruit production. Getting up and in every one of these trees is an art. Unique in every way, each tree is shaped with an intuitive guidance from the whole matrix of my environment. The bees and grasshoppers show me where to allow for growth, while interplanted coffee show me where to trim the trees as they ask for more light. It's quite a conversation to have, 'hey there tree, I honor your divine patterns of seemingly erratic growth, and see beauty and reflection in your ways, but may I bring some of my human organization to you?' It's normally followed by 'trust the love in my heart to know I want the best for your long and healthy life, I love you'... When I approach "hacking away at trees" all day long in this way, I notice a HUGE difference in how my vibrational field is accepted in the intimacy of the ecosystem. I'll go all day without falling out of a tree or having big branches hit me in the face. It teaches me how important it is to drop into the environments we enter to feel the field before we make our way through them 🌿
By Mellen - Resident Arborist, Wise Woman
By Hermann Hesse
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
Since we are a farm whose production relies on trees, I thought I'd share this special holiday tree story.
One day in December 1995, my parents put up their fake Christmas tree. It was a beautiful tree, trimmed with heirlooms and tack, topped with an angel wearing tinsel for a comet’s tail. Fake trees provide a familiarity year after year – especially ours.
The front of our house faces a highway in Mechanicsville, and it’s traditional to place electric candles in the window to accent the home with the triangle tip of our twinkle-lit tree as the centerpiece in the bay window of the living room.
After Christmas, my parents got into some kind of stand-off about who will take down the tree. I’m not sure what the deal was, but I think it was something like, If my dad fixes (blank), then my step-mom will take down the tree. Or if my step-mom does (blank) then my dad will put away the tree.
Comically, this stand-off lasted for months. I was away at college so I couldn’t get after them. And the living room was the kind of room you didn’t go in unless we had company. So the tree was perfectly content in its own quarters, albeit lonely.
Summer came and the tree was still up. Window lights too. If I came home and my parents were out of town, my brother and I would plug-in the tree so everyone in Mechanicsville would see that we still had our tree up in July.
Come fall they decided Christmas would soon come around again so why not just leave it up. In December of 1996 we enjoyed the exact same Christmas tree as the previous year.
Come January the stand-off resumed. Then came February, March, and April. They sure loved that tree.
These days, to ensure I don’t inherit my parents’ ways, I use adopt-a-tree San Diego. Delivered by singing elves, adopt-a-tree San Diego provides a living tree for the holidays and then comes and picks up the tree after the festivities where it then gets planted on an animal sanctuary out in east county. My wife and I like that no trees are harmed and the planet is better off, and that neither she nor I have to engage in any kind of stand-off about who’s going to clean up the living room. Thank you adopt-a-tree. And thanks to my parents for the fun and memorable Christmases of yesteryear.
My parents' tree eventually came down in the summer in 1997. Who won the stand-off I have no idea. I just know it was the prettiest tree there ever was, and I kinda miss it.
Fruits of wisdom from our family tree.