This poem was read by a yoga teacher at class I attended recently. I enjoyed it. Maybe you will too.
The Oak Tree
by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr
A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark
But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?
The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway
But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me
Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew
After class, I asked the yoga instructor about it and she emailed it to me. Who knew you can get so much out of a free yoga class at REI! I didn’t think about the poem again until a few days later when I was stopped in my tracks at the beauty of this oak tree.
This was after a few windy days and other types of trees had fallen, branches were broken, strewn across the trail. Not this oak. Her trunk leans as her roots reach down to the creek water below. She’s a little scraggly at the top, but considering our five years of drought, she’s still standing tall and proud.
The bright blue sky behind the lacy leaves and gnarled branches stopped me from a distance. I took some photos from different angles, but they can’t do it justice. I put my hands on the rough trunk that sometimes holds swarms of ladybugs, a phenomenon I’ve been lucky to witness a few times. There was a feeling of love energy coming from this tree. Even the shadow patterns on the dirt path were beautiful. For the first time I was grateful for this particular tree, and that feeling spread to everything I saw as I continued my walk back to the office. I was in the zone.
I pass by these trees along Strawberry Creek in the Berkeley hills and don’t think too much about them, other than being grateful for their shade when it’s hot. I don’t know if this moment would have happened if it weren’t for the poem I heard at the yoga class. One never knows where inspiration will come from. Be aware, be mindful, and be grateful for the beauty that exists in our everyday lives.
Yoga pose of the week
What else? Tree Pose! Vrksasana (vrik-SHAHS-anna)
vrksa = tree
Tree Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions
My 2 cents: For balance, keep your gaze on one point in front of you. If you fall, just get back up and try again! Falling is the most underestimated form of enlightenment.
Tree pose is cool but Tree for Two is even better!
This was an awesome hike and yoga led by Nicolette Tura (left) of The Illuminated Body.
Namaste, and buen Camino!
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