When I was a little girl, my family lived across the street from a large wooded lot where hundreds, maybe thousands, of old pine trees grew wild.
The lot was a stone’s throw from my front door and every day after school I would skip out of the house and be in the woods in seconds, where I’d take long walks and hunt for lizards, chase butterflies and pick up pine cones. The thick cushion of pine needles covering the ground crunched under my feet and had a faint musty smell from the rainy, humid Florida days.
I don’t remember any particular lesson or advice that was spoken through the wind.
This tree-filled vacant lot was both a playground and a place of mystery. The minute I entered,I was swept away to an adventureland completely untouched by civilization. No trace of man-made structures, no telephone poles, no utility wires, or pavement to take away from the uninhabited stillness. It was hallowed ground just waiting for an explorer to discover hidden treasure unseen by others.
On the far side of the lot was one particular pine tree that was my daily destination. It was old and towering and its bushy limbs spread out like protective arms swaying in the breeze. Every day I would sit down on the soft ground beneath it, shaded by its boughs, and I would listen.
Afterall, the wind met me and whispered to me every day when I went to the pine. It was never late. It was never absent. It always came…
I would listen for the wind. When it blew through the pines, there was a soft whoosh, whoosh, whooooosh that was incredibly peaceful for me.
As the wind rustled and whispered in the swaying branches, my 8-year-old mind believed it was God talking to me in sort of a private, Godlike way. I mean, I didn’t think someone as powerful as God would show up at my pine tree and speak English to me. No, He was the one who spoke through burning bushes and by carving stone tablets and by visiting plagues upon people. It just seemed natural that he would communicate through the boughs of the trees, with a voice of the wind.
This was such a comfort to me, the young, meek child, to go to a special spot and imagine I was having a private audience with a Power who thought I was so important that He would meet me at my pine tree every day after school.
I don’t remember any particular lesson or advice that was spoken through the wind. It really was more of a presence, a “still, small voice,” assuring me I wasn’t alone and I was loved. Afterall, the wind met me and whispered to me every day when I went to the pine. It was never late. It was never absent. It always came, and in my child mind that was proof enough that it was real and just for me.
I believe we get life messages and inspiration in many ways.
I thought about the pine tree not too long ago as I was walking my dog on a breezy day along a creek and heard the gusts of wind blowing through the leafy branches of the Cottonwoods. I stopped, closed my eyes and I listened. All around me the world was quiet except for that familiar whoosh, whoooosh. And then the sense of peace that comes with being protected and loved unconditionally flooded me again, just like when I was a child.
It is easy to chalk this up to a vivid childhood imagination or the desire of an adult to hold on to the innocence and mystery of the unknown. But, I believe we get life messages and inspiration in many ways. Through our dreams, our prayers, through friends and family, chance meetings with strangers, serendipitous happenings and unexpected opportunities. And yes, when we give ourselves permission to listen, even on the gentle breezes of the wind.