Where do I even begin? It has been an amazing year working with the Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) I could cry thinking of letting go of this beautiful Tree ~ there is still so much I want to learn and experience from her Spirit and Love. It has been the first year that I am in somewhat of a hold up writing about my year long journey with a plant; also the first year to work with a plant that is not a small herbaceous flower. The third year of experimence as Herbaloo, Earth Apprentice ~ The sacred triad ~ Maiden, Mother, Crone. How appropriate, in a sense, for the glorious Silver Maple to hold the third year’s Crone energy. While studying with Helena Wu from Middletown Springs, Vermont – spiritual herbalist and midwife – she took us out to the Silver Maple to meditate. I depicted a “traveling minstrels” -esque stack of grandmother, mother, and child holding each other up and love flowing freely between the three. When I first began my Silver Maple journey in Spring of 2012, I had two beautiful Silver Maples sawed down aggressively, waking me from my slumber to see through my bedroom window the heart wrenching site. The remaining third Silver Maple in the neighborhood, which I had just moved to, was where I would park my vehicle and meditate for the remainder of the year. Her lowest down-stretching branch dipped close enough to snuggle.
Being Spring, I see the inspiration of new beginnings – and my reminder to nourish the Wood element associated with the season: I was advised to nourish my Wood Element before I started studying with the Silver Maple during consultation with a clinical herbalist who volunteered her time to help me (Thank you Rebecca, I am still processing and incorporating your wisdom). I had been singing a lot, and to continue with song was her other piece of advice. The year continued in song and melody: my voice was exposed to new heights and feelings, I was taught to hear song and sing with the plants freely and openly, and was also advised by my network chiropractor to howl like the wolf that I had expressed wanting to mimic. The Wood element also refers to the liver and anger. A serious time of transformation for me, the Spring. I have so much to learn from the Silver Maple still. I feel this last lesson of Spring, with its returning cycle of ideas and blossoms, is appropriate to complete my year long journey. The season of rebirth brings a perennial reminder to continue on your path, and that each year brings stronger roots to hold you to your life goals and your place on Earth.
Helena had brought us out to the Silver Maple. While meditating I heard voices – I heard singing. I thought, “This must be someone singing with the plant, I feel rude listening in on their private conversation,” so I tuned it out. When I shared this story with Helena and the class, she advised me to listen, and to join in the next time this occurred. It was an invite from the Silver Maple, not a walk-in on privacy. This expansive concept is something I struggle with often as an Earth Apprentice and budding intuitive healer. I once read that the reason we can no longer sense and feel each other’s thoughts and emotions (as Americans) is because we have so much we feel we need to hide. If we were open and willing to flow with the energy around us, we would then be able to feel and hear and see each other’s energy as well. Something I experience with plants often, and someday hope to experience with animals. But other humans … I do not feel ready, and maybe I, too, feel I must hide what is happening inside my head. I am actually, and literally, afraid that when I meet strong intuitive folks from the herbal realm that they will be able to read my thoughts. No joke, this is something that passes through my head on a daily basis. Even just everyday folks I interact with I consciously have the thought – “I hope they can’t read my thoughts” – and it must be at this point that I continue to stuff, suppress, hide, conceal, my true (TRUE) inner feelings, emotions, thoughts. What am I hiding from? I have no reason to be veiled. I am confident that the nourishment of my wood element will assist in revealing the root of this action and urge out my “not-yet-ripe” blossoms. In a recent horoscope I read that now was a pivotal time in learning how to allow others to help me. I took this in the same vein that my thoughts will someday be calm enough to share intuitively without worry.
Does this ever happen to you? Do you purposefully close the gates to your inner garden? If so, why? I don’t expect you to know, as I clearly don’t know why I do it myself. Though I do hope you are inspired to find out, and that is comes easily to you, as you peel back the layers to complete transparency. I like to envision an open heart when I feel closed and private – the image itself changes as I learn and peel, but mantra and intent stay the same.
The Silver Maple taught me to seek out relationships with the other Trees that inhabit the land around me. I remembered the yellow swaying branches of the Weeping Willow, became entranced by the pure love waving in the bark of the Birch, prayed for comfort through leaf-less winter months from the Conifers, and said hello to all Trees I hadn’t met or felt an affinity to before. It is eye opening to take notice and finally see the fine details between each Tree, helping me to identify them in Summer and Winter. I am currently calling and seeking for a Silver Maple in my new neighborhood in Rhode Island’s capitol. If you can hear me Silver Maple, I miss you, and would love to see you again soon. “Draw me,” she soothes now. “We are never far if you hold me in your heart.”
In the past year I have said ‘au revoir’ and ‘adieu vous’ to a number of loves in my life. The Silver Maple held me firmly to the ground, securing me and giving me confidence to grow everyday and continue to soak up the sun and breathe in the sweet life all around me. To uproot and change my surroundings, I may have held on to the Silver Maple to give me strength. The interesting piece is that my 2013 plant ally has made itself apparent; almost as if I need to start my study with this new herb in order to let go of 2012’s study with the Silver Maple. I suppose what I need to know and learn is that by letting go and moving on – growing, changing, reaching towards the sun – I can still maintain a relationship with those from my past and recall their memory to the present, be with them in the present and continue to connect with them, expand my horizons without losing sight of the Sun and Moon, and that movement and adventure means covering ground but does not mean I will lose my connection to the Earth. I am extremely blessed to live on the second floor of a house whose bay window is hugged by a (sugar or red?) Maple Tree. I watch it’s buds swell from the space on the Tree where it’s thick trunk reaches out into many branches. Branching out, but remaining connected to the trunk and roots that ground it. “Like a tree with branches high, my roots run deep as I reach for the sky.”
“Standing like a Tree,
With my roots growing down,
My branches wide and open.
Come down the rain, Come down the sun,
Come down the fruit to the heart that is open to be standing like a Tree…”
I will be writing a few separate posts, containing memories and pictures from this past year with the Silver Maple. We will see how many parts it takes to make the whole ~ An adventure I am pleased to express in supporting levels. I hope you look forward to reading them as much as I look forward to writing.
May you hear your inner song clearly and share it with those around you.
In sincere gratitude, and deep appreciation for your inner Nature,