In times of challenge, I’m learning that what we pay attention to has heightened importance. Sometimes we need to focus on finding a way forward. Sometimes we need to focus not on a direction, but on the whole experience of a moment. In those times, I find it best to be close to trees.
I don’t know what it’s like to be a tree. But I like to imagine it sometimes.
Arms outstretched in a permanent embrace of everything that arrives to its spot on the planet. Its solid matter a testament to its whole history. The tips in motion to seek a future in the sun and a present in the soil. Its silent defenses against harm and silent entreaties for cooperation. Silent, but clear and strong enough to sustain its force as a valuable participant in a connected community.
As our understanding of forests deepens (and it does every time we set foot in one if we let it,) we realize how crucial it is to have dedicated places that exalt these ancient ecosystems. We can call it research, forest farming, eco-tourism, forest bathing, plein air painting, outdoor education, hiking, wandering… We believe that all these human activities are, at their essences, prayers to the greater forces at work in these living cathedrals. And, like prayers, they provide focus, direction, and meaning to the smaller transactions of living.
By knowing forests, we know that strong relationships create resilience, shared purposes create power, and diversity creates enduring beauty. In challenging times, we think it’s a good idea to pay attention to trees. Trees persist.
persist v. to continue steadily and firmly in some state or course of action.
from Latin per--thoroughly + sistere--to stand
Trees do it with atmosphere, minerals, light, and the cooperation of allies they’ve been politicking with for eons. The Yew Mountain Center persists with a passionate community of staff, volunteers, participants, and donors…cradled in our community cathedral of trees. This letter and our I Love Yew campaign is our entreaty, our invitation for you to be a part of this collective prayer for a connected, resilient, powerful, and beautiful way forward. And for times spent among the trees where forward is only one of the infinite directions we could go.
Yew Mountain Center Director
p.s. Like a healthy forest, the Yew Mountain Center is a place of renewal and re-invention fueled by creativity from our communities. Do you have ideas or questions? Please feel free to reach out to any of us at The Yew Mountain Center. We would love to hear from you!