The Listening Tree

What would you tell it?


The Listening Tree

Once upon a time a woman bought a house and moved in. There was a tree on the far side of the garden. It was tall and wide and had thousands of bright green leaves that shimmered in the slightest breeze, sounding like endless whisperings of the wind.


As the months rolled by and life happened to the woman, she went down to the far side of the garden, sat under the tree, and told it all the sad things. Sickness, insults, insecurities, pain and death.


The tree listened.


One day when the woman wended down the path to the tree, she noticed the leaves were turning orange and red and yellow. They no longer shimmered in the slightest breeze, but crackled, twisted and drifted to the ground. When the woman sat under it and told her woes she was almost covered by falling leaves.


The next day there were no leaves left on the tree. They lay like a thick blazing mat on the ground. The tree looked dead. The woman cried and told this latest sorrow to its bare branches.


‘You are dead and it’s all my fault,’ she wailed. ‘I told you all the sad things and you died of sorrow. I’m sorry.’ She bowed to the tree then walked slowly back to the house, wishing she could undo the result of her words.


But, lo and behold, in a few weeks the tree grew tender new leaves. The woman was overjoyed. ‘You have come back to life for me!’ she said gratefully. ‘Thank you! From now on I will only tell you happy things, so you won’t die again.’


As the months rolled by and life happened to the woman, she went down to the far side of the garden, sat under the tree, and told it all the happy things. Recoveries, compliments, successes, rejoicings and births.


The tree listened.


One day when the woman wended down the path to the tree, she noticed the leaves were turning orange and red and yellow again. They no longer shimmered in the slightest breeze, but crackled, twisted and drifted to the ground. When the woman sat under it and spoke of happy things, she was almost covered by falling leaves.


‘No, no!’ she cried, leaping up and trying to affix the leaves to the spots from which they fell. ‘I’ve told you only happy things! Please don’t die!’


But the leaves kept falling until all the branches were bare.


‘You are dead and it’s my fault,’ she wailed as she sat amidst the blazing carpet of leaves. ‘I told you all the happy things and you died of too much happiness. I’m sorry.’ She bowed to the tree then walked slowly back to the house, wishing she could undo the result of her words.


But, lo and behold, in a few weeks the tree grew tender new leaves. The woman was overjoyed. She sat beneath the tree and said, ‘You have taught me that life is full of happenings. Some seem sad and some seem happy. But they are just happenings running alongside each other in cycles, like seasons.’


The tree listened.


And the endless whisperings of the wind in its leaves breathed of chance and choice and change.


With love, Marlane


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https://www.marlaneainsworth.com/7daymindfulnesschallenge



First published on Medium.com/spiritual-tree

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