The following story is true. This incident really happened.
When hiking far out into the forests along the Blue Ridge Mountains, I stopped to rest and eat lunch on a large mossy boulder. The view was amazing, with the beauty of the green mountains and valleys stretching to the far horizon.
As I sat there in silence, I heard a voice. Looking around, there was no one there. A few moments later, I distinctly heard a voice, but it didn’t sound quite human. I could understand a few words that seemed to say, “I’m here.” Still not seeing anyone, and feeling some fear, I grabbed my pack and started to leave. Just then, the voice said, “No fear; I’m here.”
I stepped back, disbelieving my eyes and ears. The voice appeared to be coming from an old Balsam Fir tree whose roots were touching the boulder I stood on! This couldn’t be!
A breeze carried more words to me. Stunned, I dropped my pack to listen intently as the tree told me many things, stories of the woods, the mountains and the humans who never stopped to listen. The old tree told me secrets and made me promise not to repeat them. She (her voice sounded feminine) told me I was special and she had chosen me to speak her wisdom to.
Then, a branch gently wrapped around and lifted me high up in the tree! A frightening yet oddly peaceful feeling came over me. Birds and squirrels sat close and even perched on my arms and legs. They too seemed to be entranced by the voice of the tree.
After what seemed to be hours but were only minutes, even moments, I found myself back down the trail by my car. I have no memory of how I got back.
My whole life has been transformed! I’ll never be the same!
I know I’ve been chosen to write this story and the words of The Tree. Someday I may be able, or allowed, to share some of the secrets I heard that day. I may still hear the voice of The Tree speaking to me at times, so I’m sure there will be more stories and lessons to tell.
No doubt, it will be very hard for some to believe my story, that I was a witness to something extraordinary. Yet, I would urge you to think of the World’s Religions, how they started … the Roots of Religion. Consider the first person to have an amazing experience or encounter of something or someone marvelous in a wild place … desert, mountain, forest. They told their stories, others believed, and over time whole communities were formed, scriptures and creeds were written. The world was changed forever.
The story you have read here today is true (if you believe it). It really happened (if you choose to accept it).
If you believe, let me know. Tell me why you believe it, why you would believe me. Then I may tell you some secrets only believers can hear, only we can know.
If you don’t believe, tell me. Explain why you wouldn’t believe my story, why you choose not to believe me.
If you are a person of faith, who believes in one ancient story of a remarkable person who spoke of amazing experiences, who told stories and gave lessons of life, why would you believe them, and not me?
Whether you believe or not, The Tree is reaching out to touch you too.
(image: actual photo from a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains–believe me!)