One of the strange gifts I discovered in my journey fighting a particular difficult diagnoses of brain cancer was that my senses became unbelievably ignited. It was as if someone cleaned the dingy windows, and now they were crystal clear.

I was savoring the food I was eating, awed by birds nearby, breathing in the earthy smells in the woods and marveling at the trees around me. At the 5-year mark from my diagnoses, a date I was not expected to meet, I wrote this short story about what I believe is true about our existence here on earth and beyond.


Have you ever listened to the trees? Watched them move and change? Walked among them with reverence and awe? Looming. Alive. Glorious. We can learn a lot from the trees.

When I was young I loved tress and I had a special one I would crawl around especially at its vaulted tops. Surrounded by its strength and its fresh smell, I’d hide in the leaves, read books and snoop on the neighbors.

The joyful changes of the seasons brought the bare leaves of winter, the peak of new life in the spring, the full bloom of green in summer and the beauty of red and yellow leaves fluttering away in the fall. Pure majesty.

But as I grew up, I stopped thinking about the trees. I did other things. Maybe I thought I was ascending to higher and better. Crawling up the corporate ladder, I had little time to think about crawling in trees.

I had forgotten about my special place until my perceived ascension knocked me down. All the way down. The things I had been working for shattered in a million pieces and I had to find a new way to think about things because everything had changed.

Yet, when I crashed down, I found a deepness there. I found the depth of the ground, the rich soil, the base of a tree, the tree of my youth. And it was good. It was simple. I had fallen from a house of cards and landed home again. I had forgotten how earthy and familiar this place was.

During this metamorphosis, I became very connected to the trees around me. I became amazed by them and marveled at their strength, beauty and even wisdom. The trees don’t complain; they adapt. They are not fearful; they bend yet remain strong. They exist in a constant moment of full expression of what they are. Even during the bitter cold of winter when the leaves are gone, they bely their appearance as inside they are alive, fertile, and preparing for the complete, unrelenting assertion of life.

When they no longer stand tall and have leaves that express themselves in that way, they change and become something else. They go back into the soil from whence they came, granting gifts to the earth. There they offer as much expression and purpose as they did before, just in a different way.

This manifestation is another way of thinking about our own existence. While in this earth we are surrounded by change and we must bend to be strong like the trees. And like the trees, we never really die. When it’s time we will manifest into something else, something rich, deep and special. Something similar to our experience here on earth yet different.

This is why I love the trees. They are life eternal. We can learn a lot from them. They show us how.

“Tree of Life” by artist Theresa Chinea