Friday, October 28, 2011

Take it to the Trees

This time of year for me always brings with it feelings of nostalgia. I’ve felt it for years and could never quite put a finger on why. Recently however, I made a trip back to the city where I went to college. I took a walk down an old familiar path through the woods near campus. It had that crisp feeling of fall and the colors of the trees were spectacular. That was when I realized, it was the trees. I grew up in the country and have spent a great deal of my life outdoors. As far back as I can remember I have always felt a connection to the trees. It might sound strange to some, especially to those most familiar with the city, but I have never felt as at home as I do in the woods. I began to think about the seasons and the cycle of the trees from budding and growing in the spring, lush and green during the summer months to brilliant colors and slowly falling leaves in the fall, and dormant but silhouetted figures in the winter. It’s a beautiful and intriguing cycle and I think the way my senses interpret these events triggers certain memories or emotions. Am I alone in this? Envision trees in the spring, barely budding, peeking green, almost melting in sun and breathing back to life. What does that bring up for you? The smell of the thawing earth, the birds beginning to flutter from branch to branch in spring feels different to me than the fall. During the fall it’s the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet and the trees almost visibly sigh as the let go of their leaves and succumb to the winter. Their branches become bare but instead of appearing naked and afraid they begin to look stoic, almost wise in knowing that this is all part of the cycle. Even rain sounds and feels different falling on the trees in the spring and the fall. It reminds me of the story “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf” by Leo Buscalgia which I would recommend to anyone looking for a short story that offers a lot of insight and meaning. As you may have already picked up on, I have spent a lot of time in the company of the trees. For me it has priceless therapeutic value. The idea of “taking it to the trees” has been a sort of theme throughout my life. I think it is important for everyone to have a place they can go to feel connected to something outside of human existence, something that often feels much bigger than ourselves.

Take it to the Trees – By Kaitlyn Gitter

Out in the woods

Just me and the trees

With the lungs of the Earth

I can finally breathe

The wind blows by

Tousles their leaves

They’re waving hello

Welcoming me

I envy their roots

Their stability

I long for their strength

Their community

But when I’m down

Or need to be alone

I know they will always

Share with me their home

When my soul is feeling restless

And needs to be free

I know I can always

Count on the trees

When I’m looking for a piece of me

Or just a slice of serenity

I know a place where I can breathe

I take my secrets to the trees

I can feel the souls of trees

And trees can heal the soul of me

There I can feel safe

And calm

And free.

Kaitlyn is a student at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. She is currently a counseling intern at the Awakening Center and co-leads the Eating Disorders Anonymous group on Wednesday evenings from 7:45-9pm. Call (773)929-6262 ext 12 for more details.