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Redwoods

Wendy Jensen


They are still here.

An unspoken presence

first fully realized

within the air

and ground

of the forest.


Inseparable from sunbeams

streaming down

and rich earth smells

wafting up.


Only a feeling

no sound

beyond whispering branches

and murmuring creek water.


The towering ancient corrugated trunks

rooted deeply into the soft dark soil

even larger

than my eyes

could take in.


I touched

my hands a tiny flicker

against thousand year-old beings

who disappeared

into the air

above.


A mouse tapping

the foot

of a mountain.


Their greeting arose in me

realized in retrospect.

A welcome

understood

deep in my bones

a communication

so pure and complete

that touching was clumsy

perfunctory.


The trees already knew we were there.


I was asked once

did the earth love me in return.

No

I thought

not having imagined

what love really means.


Love was a close embrace

a fixed gaze

to me.

Love was needing more

asking for a part of me

in exchange

always.


But perhaps love is

an awareness

of a being's existence

an acknowledgment

of one's presence

a quiet allowing

into the space

seemingly already filled

with the breath

of trees.

If so

then I was loved there.


My awareness of the other

took awhile to seep

into my skin.


Then

over the months

away from the ancient ones

the feeling grew.

Now here

in my living room

three thousand miles away

I recall

their humus-laden presence

their invisible encompassing arms

of acceptance.


This feeling is like nothing else

in my life

it leaves me complete

rather than wanting more.


Wanting more is reserved

for other more worldly and evanescent delights

a good book

an enchanting movie

applause

smiles.


The trees give love

in a way I did not think possible

filling me up

for keeps.


But their greatest gift

was opening my eyes

to what already

holds me close.

Dropping my fear

allowing me

to trust

the blessings

that sit softly

on my shoulders

keeping me safe

and warm.


Rather than measuring

my right to be loved

as a function

of how much I serve others

the trees taught

that love asks

for nothing

in return.


It simply is.


Gratitude fills my heart.

I look around me

and find love waiting for me

if I pause

for a moment

to see.


Serving others

becomes my own labor of love

rather than a barter system

to keep me alive.


It almost hurts

to allow this change

inside my heart and soul

like the first sips of water

after crossing a mighty desert.


I faded away

inside myself

for years

afraid to ask

thinking only that I must keep helping others

or I would be lost

and alone.


Knowing this

as a very small child

who tried to make sense

of the pain

felt all around her.


If I could reduce their pain

then maybe

I would deserve their love

enough

for them to give it

back.


But now I know the truth.

Love is not earned.


All my hidden

lost empty places

received nourishing gifts

a kiss of hello

a silting down of nourishment

slipping silently into

what I thought was a bottomless

pit

of need.


I am whole again.

 

Wendy Jensen


I grew up in three different countries, landing finally in New Hampshire to practice homeopathic veterinary medicine, play violin, and raise my children. My writing has appeared in the Tiny Seed Journal as well as numerous homeopathy journals. My experiences as a veterinarian, an advocate at my local crisis center, and a researcher at an animal rights organization all come together to inform my work.


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