This I Believe

Tricia - Oakland, California
Entered on April 18, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: nature

I Believe in Nature as a Common Thread of Spiritual Connectivity

I believe there is a common thread of spirituality and human inter-connectedness to the natural world. I think that nature gives us the most uplifting and exhilarating experiences.

I Believe in Nature as a Common Thread of Spiritual Connectivity

I believe there is a common thread of spirituality and human inter-connectedness to the natural world. I think that nature gives us the most uplifting and exhilarating experiences.

When I was a child growing up on three acres in Michigan, I lived most of the summer outdoors. My brother and I picked freely of the Concord grape vines, Royal Anne cherries, apple trees, D’Anjou pears, Montmorency sour cherries and a favorite, mulberries. We even dug through the ground cover to uncover rhubarb and wild asparagus. It was a treasure hunt. When I was tired of foraging for fruit I sat back in the trees, dreaming of my tree rooms.

In my imagination the tree branches became rooms in my home away from home; a bedroom branch, a kitchen branch, a den branch, etc. Our Royal Anne Cherry tree was a favorite climbing tree of mine. With its perfectly linear branches, it beckoned me, taunting its red and yellow fruit. With bare feet, I climbed hand over hand, like it was made for my reach and my length, till I could climb no higher. When I reached the tippy top, there was a flat triangular-shaped seat, here I sat swaying, listening, and nibbling. I knew then, even as a young child, this natural world was a remarkable one and that I belonged to it. Not the other way around– it belonging to me. From that tree I could view, the hill that we sled down in winter, the lilac bush, and the forsythia bushes. The magnolia-tulip tree, a favorite of my mother’s had a branch for us to sit and bounce up and down on. The apple trees and my bedroom window, were also seen through the branches of that tree. Like a vision, it felt powerful to be up so high, so well hidden, and yet see so much.

My spirit of confidence grew from climbing those training wheel branches. They held me up and in some way still do. I believe that if we were more in touch with nature, we would protect it and live more harmoniously in it, appreciating its delicate balance and striving to do what it takes to make it more sacred.

Today, my trees are not the same as my childhood, my body not as lithe, but my spirit is intact. I have started a new journey of sorts, with six acres and thirty years of deferred maintenance that have drawn me back into and taught me again, that mystery and wonder still exist. I have been able to enjoy walking the property, forage for blackberries, enjoy the spring lilacs, wild rose bush, daffodils and iris’, and seasonal creek. I have even planted my own trees, fourteen olive trees.

Some days I sit back and watch all of the different wildlife pass through our yard; the wild turkeys, deer, foxes, and the myriad variety of birds. Silently I marvel to myself at the continual rebirth and life cycles around me. It gives me hope for our future.

The fact that this natural cycle of life exists within nature somehow gives me hope that we, as human animals, will somehow also keep from killing or destroying our natural surroundings. Perhaps we will become peaceful, perhaps hear the insect’s buzz, the bird’s chirping, see the fox, and know that this continuity is somehow part of our

When I was a child growing up on three acres in Michigan, I lived most of the summer outdoors. My brother and I picked freely of the Concord grape vines, Royal Anne cherries, apple trees, D’Anjou pears, Montmorency sour cherries and a favorite, mulberries. We even dug through the ground cover to uncover rhubarb and wild asparagus. It was a treasure hunt. When I was tired of foraging for fruit I sat back in the trees, dreaming of my tree rooms.

In my imagination the tree branches became rooms in my home away from home; a bedroom branch, a kitchen branch, a den branch, etc. Our Royal Anne Cherry tree was a favorite climbing tree of mine. With its perfectly linear branches, it beckoned me, taunting its red and yellow fruit. With bare feet, I climbed hand over hand, like it was made for my reach and my length, till I could climb no higher. When I reached the tippy top, there was a flat triangular-shaped seat, here I sat swaying, listening, and nibbling. I knew then, even as a young child, this natural world was a remarkable one and that I belonged to it. Not the other way around– it belonging to me. From that tree I could view, the hill that we sled down in winter, the lilac bush, and the forsythia bushes. The magnolia-tulip tree, a favorite of my mother’s had a branch for us to sit and bounce up and down on. The apple trees and my bedroom window, were also seen through the branches of that tree. Like a vision, it felt powerful to be up so high, so well hidden, and yet see so much.

My spirit of confidence grew from climbing those training wheel branches. They held me up and in some way still do. I believe that if we were more in touch with nature, we would protect it and live more harmoniously in it, appreciating its delicate balance and striving to do what it takes to make it more sacred.

Today, my trees are not the same as my childhood, my body not as lithe, but my spirit is intact. I have started a new journey of sorts, with six acres and thirty years of deferred maintenance that have drawn me back into and taught me again, that mystery and wonder still exist. I have been able to enjoy walking the property, forage for blackberries, enjoy the spring lilacs, wild rose bush, daffodils and iris’, and seasonal creek. I have even planted my own trees, fourteen olive trees.

Some days I sit back and watch all of the different wildlife pass through our yard; the wild turkeys, deer, foxes, and the myriad variety of birds. Silently I marvel to myself at the continual rebirth and life cycles around me. It gives me hope for our future.

The fact that this natural cycle of life exists within nature somehow gives me hope that we, as human animals, will somehow also keep from killing or destroying our natural surroundings. Perhaps we will become peaceful, perhaps hear the insect’s buzz, the bird’s chirping, see the fox, and know that this continuity is somehow part of our “community,” and we are inseparable from it. The natural world is in the depth of our souls, the inspiration of our hearts, and the solid dirt under our feet, keeping us grounded on this earth, for just a little while.

Tricia O’Brien is the mother of two, a former caterer, and aspiring writer living in Northern California. She enjoys her natural surroundings of her Sonoma County home, inspiring her daily.