Time for Trees (2)

by | Nov 28, 2019 | Seasons Newsletter | 12 comments



Have you ever sat in silence in a forest?

If so, you may have noticed how full of change it is.

The moment to come is different from the moment just passed. Wind stirs the air and shakes the leaves, creating sounds that shift and change. Light comes and goes, flickering or shafting past tall trunks, branches and twigs.

The temperature alters, from warm to chill. A leaf falls, and the bush is changed by its fall. A gecko slips under a stone. A mosquito alights on your hand.

A certain tree

Last weekend I sat on the earth at the base of a 50-year-old kauri tree, which was surrounded by many tree companions. The trunk of the kauri was slender enough to be encompassed by my hand, yet tall enough to pierce the canopy above, where it reached up into full sun.

Sitting there, holding the trunk, I feel a surprising strength of movement as the wind tosses the spiky crown of the tree. The trunk feels almost wiry, or perhaps rubbery. There is no danger of it snapping even though recent storms have been fierce.

I talk to the tree about the gift it received eleven years ago. It was here that we buried the placenta of my granddaughter. When Mira visits the land, the first thing she does is to run up the bush path to visit ‘her’ tree.

‘Look after her when I’m gone,’ I tell the tree, knowing it will outlive me. ‘Watch over her.’

First meeting

The tree and I first met when I was in my early twenties and the tree was just a delicate seedling in a nursery. It was one of several that my husband and I perched on the running board of our Lambretta motor scooter as we bumped along the unsealed road to the coast, to our block of land.

We were young then, and not long married; young enough to plant 6 inch-high seedlings in springtime, and to know that we had a lifetime ahead in order to watch them grow.

Many springs have come and gone since then, and for decades I have watched the trees grow, sheltered by the ‘nurse crop’ of manuka.

Kauri dieback disease has taken a hold in the Waitakeres, threatening the lives of many giant kauris. But this one, young and solitary, is healthy and strong.

Tree clasping traditions

As I sat on the earth, I thought of the sacred connection that indigenous people have with trees; how my Celtic ancestors worshipped ash, hawthorn and oaks; and how Druids would meet outside in sacred groves.

I thought of how intimately Maori knew the bush —ngahere—and the reverence they hold for certain trees, many of which have been given names. Tane Mahuta, the largest kauri of all, grows in Northland and is thought to be 2,000 years old. Although kauri are best known for having names, they are not the only ones. The Tuhoi tribe named a significant hinau tree, which grew high on a bush ridge on the east coast. Maori women would go to Te Iho-o-Kataka, as it was called, and clasp it, in order to help conceive a child.

This is not magical thinking. Scientists now know how immersion in forest energy is good for our health. They have actually measured the vibrational patterns of trees and can demonstrate how these vibrations affect the biology of our bodies.

Holding a tree allows a transfer of energy to take place. It is regenerative, restoring health and vitality, all of which is helpful for a woman wishing to conceive and for anyone needing a recharge.

Your connection to the natural world is a precious lifeline, and trees will help you make this connection.



A tree for you?

In late spring, trees are in full growth, spreading their canopies and putting down new growth rings.

Do you have a favourite tree: one that you can hold, or sit by?

If so, you might like to see how this tree can help you through the busy period between now and Christmas. Go to your tree and discover how it can rebalance your energy, and calm and replenish you through December.

Why are there trees I never walk under but large and 
melodious thoughts descend upon me?

 —Walt Whitman

This post is an excerpt from my Seasons Newsletter. To receive the Newsletter, you may sign up on the home or blog page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.



Deepen the connection

Would you like to learn about forest bathing and how to hold a tree?

Would you enjoy engaging with an assignment every two weeks to lure you outdoors, to be with trees, water, air and the creatures of the earth?

Then I would love to have you join me for Sacred Earth, my new online course that will begin in February 2020.

Click here or the button below to read all about it.


  1. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – I love trees … and the single ones that stand sentinel over the land attract me … sometimes it’s the lone oak – long been a resident, which holds masses of life in its branches above and below the earth, or the wizened wind-swept and battered to a degree trees clinging on for dear life in the path of gale-force winds …

    Thank you for this … cheers Hilary

    • Juliet Batten

      Hilary, I enjoyed hearing about the trees you love. Thank you.

  2. Nadezda

    You are very right Juliet, I love talking to my trees – I planted 4 maples, 1 fir, 4 pines and 2 apple trees. And I also love to touch the trunks, their bark is smooth or rough, they are warm and alive.

    • Juliet Batten

      Nadezda, I can just imagine you talking to your trees. The ones you plant yourself are extra special. Touching their trunks sounds lovely, like touching skin. Thank you.

  3. annemarie sunde

    Hi Juliet, Why are there trees i never walk under, but deep and meaningful silence descends upon me. Anne

    • Juliet Batten

      Anne, how beautiful: deep and meaningful silence. I feel it too with certain trees. Thank you.

  4. Paul Batten

    Thank you for such nice refreshing comments to remind us of the great gift we have, trees, and our connection with them. Your text refreshed me.

    • Juliet Batten

      Paul, I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you, and I hope you have a special tree or trees.

  5. Denise Poyner

    My favourite tree is the totara. When I was a child I would sit under the grove of golden totara on the farm. There is a deep connection to the land when doing this. They seemed sheltering and full of life too. I particularly like the stringy bark of totara, and its red-ness. I admire them deeply when I see a grove as it takes me back to that memory.

    • Juliet Batten

      Denise, what a wonderful memory to have. I can imagine the strength of a whole grove of totara. I love this tree too, and if you take a look at my facebook page you’ll see a video I posted a few days ago of a special totara that I grew from a tiny seedling. Thank you for sharing that evocative memory.

  6. Karly

    When I left Montana, where I lived for 13 years, the first place I said good bye was to a beloved willow tree by the Yellowstone River, a dear friend.

    Now in my home in Texas the live oak trees and cottonwoods are my companions. I share my troubles underneath the cottonwoods – trees are good listeners – and lay back on the live oaks.

    Thank you for this beautiful ode to trees.

    Have you heard the poem, Young Apple Tree, December by Gail Mazur? My midwife gave it to me when I was pregnant with my son. I have a hunch you’d like it.


    • Juliet Batten

      Karly, how lovely to hear about your special trees. They are good listeners indeed! I will check out the link, thank you.


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