When the Trees Sing

By Sulana Stone

When the trees sing,

It doesn’t really matter

If you know the song,

Or if you know the words,

Or even if you know the tune.

What really matters is knowing

That the trees are singing at all.

  — Mattie Stepanek

Eight-year-old Mattie Stepanek’s poem gives us a peek into his world—and possibly the reality of millions of other kids. His intriguing worldview suggests that trees are communicating and that people can tune into what trees are saying.

Sometimes we see children talking to trees. The youngsters act as though they’re actually having a two-way conversation! Are they?

Many adults experience peace, inspiration and renewal from just “being with” a tree. Native American wisdom refers to trees as The Tree People. Is it possible that a tree is a “tree person” that “talks” with a human being when the person is open—like a child? Can a tree actually inspire people and bestow healing qualities to them?

Is Mattie onto something when he pens, “What really matters is knowing that the trees are singing at all?” Do trees really sing?

Yes! According to fact and folklore, history and modern science, our leafy friends also serve as teachers, healers, way-showers and even spirit menders. And they ring too!

The Ringing Cedars of Russia

Deep in the Siberian forest there exist 500-year-old cedar trees that communicate to people by ringing. In an intriguing book from Russia, Anastasia, we read the true-life adventure of a Russian ship captain who meets a woman—Anastasia—living with a bear and a wolf in the remote Siberian forest.

From Anastasia we learn that Siberian cedar trees capture and store excesses of “bright energy”—love, acceptance, openness, compassion—and give the energy back to people when bright energy is in short supply on earth. After about 500 years, if an ancient tree has been unable to transfer its bright energies to people, the tree will begin to audibly ring. The ringing is a signal for the tree to be cut down. Its wood, full of stored bright energy, is to be chopped up and given to people. To receive the healing qualities from the wood, a person is instructed to keep a small piece of the wood close to their body.

Trees that Enlighten

Folklore is rich with the magical properties of trees. The Spirit of Trees, an educational organization, tells us that, “In many tales, a tree serves as teacher or guardian of the truth. Trees appear in dreams. They sing and talk. They offer consolation and convey special powers. Characters who sit under a tree or climb up into a tree are suddenly inspired to set out on a journey or receive a decisive insight.”

History discloses that while sitting under a Bodhi tree, Buddha received enlightenment that helped raise the consciousness of millions of people. Could the tree have played a part in the spiritual awakening of Buddha?

Trees with Divine Power

According to sacred texts, trees were believed to possess the attributes of divine power and intelligence. Due to people’s reverence for trees, highly illumined philosophers and priests possessing these divine qualities were often referred to as “trees” or “tree men.”

Trees that Heal and Invigorate

The United States Army knows about the restorative power of trees. In a previous article of mine, Call of the Wild, I write about how the Army Ranger Training Manual advises tired, hurt, thirsty, hungry or lost troops to find the oldest or tallest tree in the area—then sit, aligning their spine against the tree trunk. Troops are taught that the tree will re-energize them, heal wounds, satisfy thirst and hunger and help them to reorient themselves in the woods.

A Scientist Talks to Plants

George Washington Carver, famous agricultural chemist and horticulturist, discovered hundreds of uses for the peanut and sweet potato, ranging from food products and coffee to cosmetics and ink. He attributed his discoveries to communications with plants and other beings: “All the flowers talk to me and so do hundreds of little living things in the woods.  I learn what I know by watching and loving everything.  Nature is the greatest teacher and I learn from her best when others are asleep.  In the still dark hours before sunrise, God tells me of the plans I am to fulfill. The secrets are in the plants. To elicit them you have to love them enough.”

What’s It All About?

Could a child’s poem, Native Americans, Anastasia, folklore, the US Army, sacred texts and a famous scientist be pointing to a plentiful source of healing and divine guidance that many of us have overlooked? A recent encounter with a “tree person” opened my eyes and heart to this exciting reality!

“The Tree Person”

As a kid, I loved clambering up trees. As an adult, I relish being with trees. I’ve noticed that after communing with a tree my spirits are lifted. Often I come away with fresh inspirations and actions I can take to change my life for the better.

For years, I’ve been using trees as a confidant—perhaps as many children do. If I’m feeling lonely or need inspiration, a visit with a tree will shift my mood. I always feel better after being with a leafy buddy.

No matter where I live, sooner or later I happen upon a favorite tree. My new pal always feels familiar—like a close friend. Near my current desert home I often visit a huge mesquite that lives in a dry streambed. Its umbrella canopy stretches over 60 feet—which is enormous for a desert tree! Its large crackled brown trunk grows at a slight angle, like a reclining chair. Relaxing on a rock at its base, I lean back, gazing through its boughs at the brilliant blue sky that frequents Arizona. It was quite recently, though, as I shared what was happening in my life with my woody pal that I became aware the tree was “sharing” with me.

At the time I was facing several personal challenges and in need of comfort and advice. Leaning against the tree, I pour my heart out to the tree and ask the tree for guidance. I relax and open to expanding my limited point of view and shifting out of feeling confused. This time, however, I feel something I never before noticed. There is a subtle sensation coming from the tree. As I focus on the sensation and acknowledge what I’m feeling, the energy grows stronger. I sense a definite vibration coming from the tree. The tree is “communing” with me!

Prior to this revelation of a tree “talking” to me, I was aware I felt better after being with a tree. But it never occurred to me that a tree might be assisting me to change my consciousness and gain clarity in my life.

The communication comes in the form of vibration. I feel a flow of energy. I’m aware that my mood is shifting and my worldview is changing.  I receive an “enlightened” overview of my personal challenges. Fresh solutions burst forth within me. I feel supported. I feel acceptance from the tree that dissolves my own self-judgment. The guidance I receive brings harmony to the challenges I’m facing.

Is it the “tree person” that “spoke” to me? Is it a transmission of “bright energy?” Could it be my higher self? Spirit guides? An angel? Me?

After pondering these questions for a brief while, I realize that labeling the vibration is irrelevant. I know that through the tree I’m connecting with a force that is providing harmonious solutions and support. Naming the energy doesn’t matter. With the innocence of a child I discover that, “What really matters is knowing that the trees are singing at all.”