In the Shelter of White Pine
Taylor describes his first encounter with the tree of Peace in the ceremonial context of the White Pine Sacred Tree Initiation:
Such a feeling of safety, of comfort—of shelter. Mixture of lie down or sit down on the soft needle cover on the ground. And—an urge to climb upward into the branches of the tree I get a childlike sense of dreamy curiosity in the presence of White Pine. It’s an environment-a separate space with its own distinct homelike feeling.
White Pine calls to me (to everyone?) “come here and rest, come here and take shelter.” And then I notice the branches:I look up— I’m drawn upward. I want to climb. There is a sense of SAFETY in those branches.
Something about White Pine relaxes me and brings out the CHILD in me. It is so SAFE here, so DREAMY—so connected to my Imagination, wonder, Daydreaming.
White Pine is a tender being. Her needles tickle my face ever so softly, Her branches are soft and pliant. Her wood is “softwood”
I feel like I’m on a ship on the water. It’s a small vessel made of white Pine—and something about White Pine is WATERY. She is Air and Water elements. The needles are airy, but she is so full of water. Her “airiness” lifts me upward—wanting to climb and look outward at the view. Her Wateriness makes her soft and gentle—I’m relaxing and drowsy as if I’m rocking gently in a boat on the water. That “wateriness” brings me earthward—to lie down and slumber on her bed of needles
She relaxes and comforts me, calling forth my Inner Child instantly. There is no searching for an “intangible” connection. The connection is AUTOMATIC—as if Human and White Pine have an Ancient Bond deep within us. It is somehow GENETIC. We were were BORN to this. We are KIN. We are FAMILY, and we know this without thinking about it. We FEEL it instantly.
It is so strange to suddenly be consciously aware of this Relationship. I am discovering a PART of me I had not “known,” yet it has always been so potentially obvious. White Pine is one of the trees that humans automatically Love. There is NO mystery about White Pine. She feels familiar and carries so many memories.
I am reminded of climbing White Pine, making pine needle forts, sleeping on pine needles, having Pine Cone battles, smelling the fragrance of white pine. Making things with Pine Wood, Rubbing my face against pine needles on branch tips, getting sap stuck to my fingers.
And pine trees have a Christmasy—wintry association, with a flavor of Currier and Ives sweetness and peacefulness. She is indeed a tree of Peace and Love and Safety. Of Goodwill toward all Beings.
White Pine is a story—a collection of stories. Stories about my life, and stories about our collective culture int he Eastern US. She makes Paper—where stories are written and stories are read.
She is an old, Ancient one who knows all our stories. And she knows us as her children. We are her children. She is somehow a Mother to us—a Guardian and Protector. A home for us—whether a temporary place to rest and daydream, or a source of wood for our log cabins and homes.
She is so much a PART of me. She is IN me in my blood memory—and yet she is FAR greater than me because she is like a PORTAL to realms of the Dream-time (in the Upper World and the Lower world) She calls me/lulls me into dreaminess, and draws me upward to soar in her branches.
I can see why she is called the World Tree because she connects me to seemingly everything. I feel almost embarrassed that I have been BLIND to her presence. I have never really honored her or thanked her for how much she gives me But she makes it all so clear when I LISTEN.
I am like a child at her feet—or in her loving lap—being rocked gently as I too am a story. It’s a story that she is so happy to share. LISTENING to HER is my Gift to Her. I could tell this morning that she is DELIGHTED to be honored in this way. Attention to her is honoring her. She loves that I love her.
Her story is also my story because we are kin. She is in my blood in a remarkable PALPABLE way. It’s like I feel myself VIBRATING at one with her because she has ALWAYS been IN me (in my blood, my bones) all my life. I say it’s “like” that, but I'm not experiencing a metaphor. I’m awakening to a reality that I simply was never conscious of. I always FELT it—but now understand it consciously.
I feel more than I was before. Now I’m part of White Pine. I write these words and feel a bit in awe. It’s like I just noticed that I have a tail—it’s really hard to describe this awakening—except to say I feel a great Love and Gratitude and Nostalgia for all the Memories And I feel SAFE.
She wants me to feel SAFE. Am she wants me to feel UNDERSTOOD. She knows my story. Thank you White Pine!