Caring for and Healing the Earth

Caretaking Experiences

A Question Answered

by Peter L.

A few months ago, I attended a lecture on caretaking. On my next trek in the bush, I decided to put some of the ideas I had learned into practice. There was plenty of opportunity to remove fallen branches from new growth trees on the forest floor. Easy to do, not too committing. Then I came across a small tree that forced me to deal with a question I had not answered within myself. The tree was about 1/2" round at the base, and bent over, almost touching the ground. This limb was alive, but scraggly. About 1" from the base of the tree grew up a straight new shoot. It was healthy and about 1/8" round. Do I cut the bigger limb off? Killing something living to allow another living thing to flourish. Easy in theory, but do I do it or not? I asked the tree. My heart told me what to do, but my logical mind did not believe it.

I followed my heart, and cut out the thicker part of the tree. The remaining wound was dressed with dirt, and I moved on.

My logical mind tortured me as I walked on. Did I do the right thing? Was I now playing God? I looked down, and came across a small branch of another tree. I picked it up and examined it. The smaller branches appeared to have been lopped off by some joker with a penknife! I was enraged with myself, as well as this person. This was a sign to me, that what I had done was wrong. The anger and shame swelled in me.

Then... I had a closer look at the cuts. They had been the work of a porcupine, not a human. The anger and doubt flowed from my body. It was alright that an animal had done this. This was clear in my mind and heart. Was I not an animal as well? The Creator has created us as part of this world. Those things within it, are for all creatures to use (not abuse).

So, this was a special day for me.

I had followed my instincts. There was no gain or false motivation in my actions. My heart was pure, and my intent was good. I left the woods that day feeling refreshed, and closer to the earth. My question had been answered.


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