When I farmed for many years in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, we always looked forward to September’s Full Harvest Moon as the reward for our spring and summer-long labors. The last of our crops were ready for harvest, and we could reflect (if all had gone well) on work done for the greatest good. At that time, we felt so connected to the land and the passing seasons, and the moon seemed to appear as a shimmering crown on that effort and revelation.
Like most of you, I don’t live on a farm now. There’s a small garden near by, but no fields and half-acre gardens for the dinner table. Still, the desire to connect and stay connected to the land hums at our core, and the Moon and all the growing things still remind us if we look and see.
The other morning on my walk, I noticed some leaves were beginning to turn, and I thought about how so many trees will soon lose their foliage for the winter, leaving us with a bare and poignant reminder of the harvest come and gone. So I stopped and leaned into a gnarly oak tree that towered over me. Reverently, I placed the palm of my hand on the living bark, and as often happens when I commune with a tree, I felt its pulsing energy. My palm tingled with electrical sensations that traveled up my arm and into my shoulders and neck. I felt almost as if I were part of the tree, which of course I was, and always am.
It’s strange when I forget this. Trees are our brothers and sisters. They’ve been our parents and our children. They appear to be so different, yet like us they are children of the earth. We are meant to eat this earth and be eaten by it. We hold and protect the ground, and we keep the sacred places. Trees have the long view of time, and they are built for patience and meditation. No matter what anyone does, it’s impossible to distract a tree. A tree will laugh at you if you try it. A tree will also hold you up, while by climbing a tree we worship it.
We trim trees up, helping them to breathe easier and look smarter. If we could do it in the visible world, we would date and marry trees. We would definitely move in with them. Spiritually, if we’ve journeyed far enough, we do both of these things and more. The kiss and embrace of a tree is dazzling. A tree’s canopy is a perfect hat. A tree even turns the act of dying naturally into a work of art. Because of trees, the way their limbs dance and embrace and move, we can read the wind. There is nothing sexier than a tree shaking rain from its hair, and there is nothing wiser than the counsel of trees.
On this Full Harvest Moon, perhaps you can also commune with your nearby trees. Thank them. Enter into dialogue with them. The image of their green fullness will soon be leaving you for winter’s duration. Connect with them now as they prepare to go to sleep through the gray, cold months. Bring their greenness inside you and keep it well.
Here is a celebration of nature from the Green Woman, the Green Man, and the Green Pen. May you embody such stories and tell them.
From the Green Pen
On a holiday when I was alone, I
Walked through dawn to the edge of town.
It was so quiet and still,
Not even the usual dogs were out.
At my turning point
I stopped under a wisteria arch,
Umbrella of green, purple
And humming of bees.
Then she appeared to me,
A green figure shimmering
Coming down to me
Out of leaf dust and supple branches,
And she put in my hand
A beautiful green seedpod
Shaped like a stylus. It fit
My fingers as if it was made for them.
Long, tapered, firm
Yet soft as velvet, it was swollen
With all of the stories of the natural world,
And I, trafficked in spirit, was made to understand
That they were mine for the telling,
Or not. So I begin.