There are trees in Ecuador--trees whose roots run deep and whose trunks reach up to the heavens with strength enough to withstand the strongest of tropical storms. Touching one such tree, the prized and coveted now-protected mahogany, Cesar, our Kichwa guide, said, "We come into the jungle, not to hunt, not to harvest, but to soak up energy."
He invited us, "Hug the tree. Feel its bark. It is cool to the touch." Cold as metal, its bark was smooth and soft. This particular tree was a young tree, its straight and dense trunk disappeared into the canopy above. Its roots, invisible to the eye, anchored the tree into the depths of the Earth. Cesar's wise eyes challenged us. "How old do you think this tree is?" Our untrained eyes searched for a way to guide our reply. Our responses ranged from 25 years to 100. "It is 100 years old." Cesar's laughing eyes continued their challenge. "How old do you think I am?", he encouraged with a smile as precious as the sun filtering through the ancient primary forest we found ourselves in. Again, we ventured replies.... he looked so YOUNG! "You are twenty-five", I said. He laughed! "I am forty years old. The energy of the forest keeps me young."
Walking in Ecuador, my mother's land, is a ritual of connection for me. Touching, smelling, seeing, hearing, tasting--the Earth, the dirt, the mud, the water, the trees, the fruit, the animals, the insects, the PEOPLE--connects me to something very deep and ancient within me. The nightime symphony of the jungle and its daytime palette full of color, shapes, and textures, overwhelms the senses. Walking down jungle paths and down river beds, we followed Cesar who pointed out the nutritious, the medicinal and the poisonous. "The forest is our grocery store and our farmacy", he explained. "Everything we need comes from here. The forest is our Mother."
What a privilege for me to be able to return to Ecuador, my Mother-Land. These past few weeks in Ecuador were no different. Now back in Colorado and embarking on a new path of becoming a Nature-Connection Coach, I am eager to continue this exploration of the Earth and our energetic connection to it. I am eager to become like the mahogany tree, the "hugging tree" whose roots anchor into the Mother-Land, the Pachamama, the Mother Earth.
I invite you to walk with awareness of the trees around you and their deep roots--the invisible that anchors the blooming of the visible.