meditation has to do with two trees which have stood
in our front lawn since we planted them over seventeen
parents lived in Arizona for the last 25 years of their
lives. Since my sister lived in Africa and then California,
and I live in Pennsylvania, they had no immediate family
near them. So the question naturally arose about where
they were to be buried.
Dad died in 1992 and Mother in 1993, both aged 86. Their
ashes were shipped to me, and we decided to plant trees
in our front lawn as memorials to their long and active
lives. So we bought a maple sapling in 1992 and ceremoniously
placed Dad's ashes under it roots. A year later, we
bought what we thought was an identical tree, and buried
Mother's ashes beneath it, 35 feet away from Dad's tree.
And there they stand today, together as they had always
been during their 61 years of marriage.
Several years ago, I began to notice something unusual.
The trees had been a mere ten feet high when we planted
them, and I could easily get the fingers of one hand
around their trunks. Today, those trunks are too big
to encircle even with both hands. However, what has
become apparent is that both trees have taken on the
characteristics of the people whose ashes are buried
Mother was an artist, an elegant lady who dressed well
and was always perfectly groomed. She was the dominant
figure in their relationship, and overshadowed Dad in
most ways. He was a quiet, inarticulate man, a hard
worker who doted on my mother and spent much of his
time catering to her needs.
What we noticed was that, though her tree was a year
younger than his, after fifteen years it was taller
by half, full and beautifully shaped, and gorgeously
colored in the fall. Dad's tree, by contrast, was smaller,
less flamboyant, and altogether subordinate to its partner.
But the final point, as if to make this phenomenon undeniable,
is that my father was bald. Several years ago, the top
of his tree began dying, to the point where it was totally
without leaves, although the rest of the tree looked
normal and healthy. The tree had become bald! It was
serious enough that we had to have the tree reshaped
to get rid of this dead area. Now, the contrast between
the two trees is even more dramatic - Mother is something
grand to behold, and greatly overshadows her shrunken
and humble spouse.
Coincidence, you say. Perhaps. But it does make one
wonder. We are spirits, one with God and one with each
other. Trees are also composed of energy, spirit, the
same kind of essence as we are. All of creation is spirit,
a truth which our Native American brothers understood
much more clearly than we do. Is it possible that human
thoughts can influence non-human elements of nature,
that our spirit can become one with the spirit of a
John W. Sloat 2010