I walk by her every day. This past summer a golden yellow spider took up housekeeping in the hole at her center; now a gossamer web stretches across the entrance of what once was a hairy woodpecker’s home. An emerald canopy shades the ground beneath her feet. In the fall, she burns fire and gold into the sky surrounding her. All winter she sleeps leafless, a startling angular silhouette, pressed against the sky. Snow birds take shelter in her deep cavern. Early spring brings robins to her door as miniature leaflets unfurl.
She is an Elder, rough barked and lightning struck. The moon perches on her shoulder. Her massive trunk is hollowed out with age and blackened from ash. Each day as I pass by, no matter what the season, my eyes pull me into that opening. Once inside I can feel her body leaning against mine, the safety of circular containment. All sounds are muted in this dark space and dreams take on a lucid reality.
What marks this place as sacred? From the inside, possibility exists without form or structure, held in place by the creature or plant that weaves together mind, body, and patterns in Nature. Outside, this Venerable Elder speaks to the wisdom of the ancients, those spirits eclipsing human life. She mirrors the necessity of inexplicable wounding, loss, aging, and the hope of possibility born in the darkness that precedes light. The Tree knows these threads belong together and when I am pulled into her center, I take on her shape and become like her, Whole.