I held a 24 hour Tree Vigil on the summer solstice (June 21st). It was a beautiful experience of being in my creature self, untethered to identities and constraints imposed by human society on the ground. I enjoyed the shifting light in the sea of green leaves throughout the day and the beauty of the night sky while sleeping in a beloved cottonwood tree that I have climbed for more than a couple of years. Below is the view from the branches that held me while I dozed.
This is the tree that taught me to go higher than I was initially comfortable with. Here is the view from the vantage point of the person climbing the tree (that's me). Please note that the board and chain you see nailed into the tree are artifacts left from a prior climber. I do not nail into or damage the tree body of the trees I am in relationship with.
Trees are the conduit between earth and sky, the land and the cosmos. They are in community with each other and with us. I asked my human community to send me messages, prayers, incantations, wishes, and questions they wanted spoken and held by the tree and me. The tree was wrapped with a rope and community was also invited to visit and place messages in the rope.
I transcribed the messages entrusted to me in my notebook in an act of subsuming their essence and I experienced a mirroring of the messages when I read them. I was stunned by the level of trust and sharing, and feel something beautiful was co-created in communion with the tree and the voices of community / my voice. The contributors are spread across the globe and range in age from 7 years old to a person in their sixties. There was a broad representation of BIPOC folks and the majority are Asian, and many are members of the queer / trans community. All contributors are anonymous and consent was given by each contributor to share the recording (click the arrow above to play).
Many thanks to Sherica Yazzie, who helped me carry provisions for my overnight stay to the tree from my home and accompanied the encircling of the tree with protective rope. Many thanks to community who came by for a visit, brought tea, left gifts and messages in the rope, fed my pup, and otherwise provided care. Solitary journeys are often not solitary; they are possible by care of community.
In case you are wondering how I prepared for this overnight stay in the tree, here are some images of the platform I built. In a spot where a branch broke, the new growth created a natural platform that I have laid on for a couple years. I cushioned the branches with foam and laid a precut piece of 3/4" plywood on top of the natural platform to create a flat surface. This is where I slept, ate, stored supplies, and read the community messages. It is my heart(h) in the heart tree.