When my children were, well, children, we loved the story by Jean Giono, The Man Who Planted Trees. It relates the life of a man who spends 4 decades planting trees in a desertified landscape in Provence, returning water and beauty to the earth. In those innocent days, we were unaware that this tale was fictional; I don’t recall if the book was listed as nonfiction. For whatever reason, Giono’s audience was disappointed to know that the shepherd (later beekeeper), Elzeard Bouffier, had never lived.
Giono (1895-1970) apologized for not making clear the fictional nature of the story, 4 years after its very successful publication. He wrote “The goal was to make trees likeable, or more specifically, make planting trees likeable.” (from Wiki article)
If I am any example, Giono was successful in his objective, for the story is amazingly touching, and more importantly, empowering. It is a focused and simple example of what a profound effect one person’s life can have when we partner with the forces of Earth in an effort to heal and restore.
There aren’t many of us, perhaps, who are born to focus that intently on a reforestation project. However, I do know of at least one: Claire Dubois.
“We can’t leave a shredded world to our children and grandchildren.”
TreeSisters offers many options for participation. Dubois’s vision is for human transformation into a “restorer species”– I like that. She offers an educational resource for moving in that direction that she calls a “Blueprint”. She links the search engine app Ecosia, so that you can easily rack up trees planted by organizations such as Dubois supports, just by navigating around the internet with their app. The website also hosts (hostesses?) a “Femmiversity” resource; meditations, retreats, interviews, and more. Dubois’s poetry is always found in the TreeSisters newsletter and elsewhere, and reflects her deep passion for this project. Her organization, which partners with a group of on site reforestation projects, is such an inspiration.
As many of you know, there is huge archetypal/religious/symbolic/spiritual significance to our Tree relations. Not to be morose, but I shall post here a Lacrimosa which was part of the Tree of Life soundtrack. Lacrimosa is “weeping”; the composition would refer to the weeping of the feminine principle represented in Christianity by Mary in her sorrowing version. Does the Earth as feminine principle weep for the carelessness of humanity? The composition is airy and cosmic, as opposed to earthy, but haunting. I invite you to experience very briefly the weeping of the planet we inhabit, a reaction to rampant destruction and other forms of disrespect and dishonoring. If that sounds like a good idea to you. And then- plant a tree, whether physical or metaphorical! Or just sit with Gaia in hand holding compassion.