Recently, I had a recurring dream. It went on for about a week. I haven’t told anyone about it. Until now of course, because I think I finally understand it.
The dream started out as a single beautiful tree. It took my breath and seemed to absorb it. I am not sure if the tree was dead or just dormant but it did not have leaves and I could somehow see its roots all the way deep into the ground, which were almost a mirror image of its branches.
When I think about the dream tree my heart starts racing and the space on my right hand at the bottom of the V where my thumb and pointer finger come together tingles like crazy. I call this spot my passion sensor. Whenever someone or something stirs my spirit it does this crazy zing. Sometimes I feel it all the way to my elbow.
I only just noticed the zingy spot about ten years ago. So it could just be the early signs of M.S. or something.
I doubt it though.
But yes. It’s weird that a seemingly dead tree with deep, dark roots would set off the alarm, considering nothing else has for quite some time. It’s awful when passion leaves you for a bit. Makes you wonder if never having it might be better.
I found myself drawing the tree. I can’t draw but I thought, well maybe I’m supposed to try. It’s not like I am doing anything ELSE that feels interesting. Something about the roots. Drawing them felt so soothing. Cathartic. So I said “okay” and drew the trees. For days.
Because the dream kept coming until one night instead of one tree there were many and the branches and roots were all intertwined in this fantastic web. So I drew this too.
And when I was done I thought “I wonder if maybe the Ents from “The Hobbit” are coming awake. Or maybe there is some kind of alien FORCE trying to tell me something like in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” when people were sculpting and drawing the mountain location where the aliens were going to arrive”. Then rational me said “Oh my GOD. Bonkers has finally embraced me in full form. It was bound to happen eventually.” So I stopped drawing the damn trees. Because my family was going to notice that crazy had come upon me more so than normal. And because I was pondering drawing the trees on our fence. Fucking weirdo. But you’re humming the Close Encounters tune now aren’t you?
“I’m pretty sure my spirit is broken”.
That’s what I threw out there a few days after the tree dreams and crazy drawings ended. My drama queen way of asking for a lifeline. Or maybe a branch. Or a root to hold on to.
Generally I am not a huge fan of telling people when I am sad. No one want’s to hear about it. It makes them uncomfortable and creates unnecessary pressure. Because I believe that just like happiness, the responsibility of sadness belongs solely to its owner.
Sadness can be a tricky thing. We often have no way of knowing what truly causes another person’s sorrow or how serious it is because we can not be in anyone else’s head except our own, which is complicated enough. If you leave sadness unattended, unexpressed, sometimes it will go away with time. Other times it will fester and grow and possibly turn into depression. Or in my case rage.
My family knows me well in rage. It comes in the form of manic house cleaning combined with wailing in tongues, bloody shins from the vacuum and red, weeping devil eyes, sometimes even a little foaming at the mouth. It’s never pretty. And the house always gets dirty again, as though it knows I need it to: a cosmic groundhog’s day gift.
The dreams left me: ghost trees in the form of childish doodles. The sad came on even stronger. No one believed that my spirit was broken and I quit talking about it. My passion sensor quit tingling. Rage built and then emptied out leaving toxins upon my household and I sit here now in remorse. Clean house, empty heart, tired body.
My people continue to love me regardless but surely I am better than this. Eventually I always get to the root of the problem, the cause of the current sad. But does it always have to be so painful? So toxic?
Did you know that there really is such a thing as ghost trees?
Formally called albino redwoods, these rare trees (only 400 known) are unable to produce chlorophyll, something normal trees need to survive, which explains why their needles are white. It was thought for years that these trees were parasites. But recently it has been discovered that they store a very high level of heavy toxic metals, making them (in my mind) healing trees because they soak up most of the poison keeping it away from the other trees. In any other species of trees, these albinos would die. But redwoods have the ability to graft at the roots so the ghost trees are able to survive by obtaining sugar through the connections between its roots and those of the neighboring “normal” trees who know they need the healing ghosts for their own well being.
I made up this knowing/well being part. I’m not totally positive trees know things. But it seems like they do in this case.
Which tree is stronger, or more important? Or is it an equal balance of give and take?
We humans sometimes act as though we are completely separate from one another. Alone in a crowd and on our own. We only see our tree trunks and our branches, reaching for something we can not define or truly understand. Standing side by side, separate. Responsible for our own happiness and sadness.
But think on this with me for a minute: are we are not also responsible for both asking for help and for assisting others in their individual journey? We may not ever truly know another’s heart or mind but we must try not to forget that our spirits are infinitely intertwined deep under the surface, at the roots.
We can choose to graft our roots like the redwoods do.
Expressing our worries, fears anxieties (ideally before it builds to rage) is not a sign of weakness nor is it harmful to others. It is a necessary means to not just surviving but thriving. It is a way to open up the channels so that when we are ready we can accept kind words, loving acts, gentle touches, smiles, murmurs that it will be okay even though it might not feel this way. And forgiveness. All the things that ease the pain of the toxins that are a bi-product of our humanness and recharge us so that we can give the same thing back. So that there is an infinite supply of passion sugar.