Finding Your Muse: The Secrets of Trees

My mother has always been a bit of a mystic.

I remember summers spent in the Idaho mountains, reading a book by kerosene lamp in a one-room cabin in the foothills of the Sawtooth Mountains. During the day, while my great grandfather would be herding cattle on more treacherous cliffs and rivers, my mother would stay behind with my sisters and me. I was content with the mountainous view and book in my hand, but I also knew she wouldn't abate until I followed her outside so I would often agree, albeit with a curled lip and frustrated whispers.

She wanted us to learn how to climb mountains and listen to trees. Every time, she'd remind us why.

"Sometimes in life you'll feel like you're climbing and hiking a huge mountain and there's no ending in sight," she would say.

I'd roll my eyes and whine about the dry valley heat and how if I'd seen one sagebrush, I'd seen them all.

"But look," she'd respond, pointing ahead. I'd follow her gaze and widen my eyes at the way the mountain peeks jutted up right there next to us — so close it seemed as if we could touch them. The air, once dusty and dry and heated, would begin to slowly carry the sweetness of melted snow dripping from nearby creek beds. We'd walk, I'd complain, she'd point out beauty.

And sometimes, she'd stop and close her eyes and a smile would play on her lips. "What are the trees saying to you, Elora?"

I'd bite a fingernail and raise an eyebrow. "What are the trees....saying?"

She'd nod.

I'd shrug, embarrassed. I'd kick at the dirt underneath my boots. 

"Trees don't talk, mom." 

"The trees will tell you secrets of God." She'd open her eyes and wink at me before walking away, my trailing behind her. "But you have to listen."

.::.

I listen to trees now. It's been over ten years since I've walked the red dirt of the Sawtooth Mountains or stood in the midst of a wooded meadow in the crisp air of sunrise, but trees and mountains and wind — they're all secret messages in their own right, carrying with them the Muse I so desperately need in order to get the words up and out of this soul.

"How do I share this story?" I'll ask the cloudless sky as I feel the summer heat radiating off my limbs and hear my dog rummaging through the dead leaves falling from the oaks surrounding me.

"Just tell the truth." The whisper is faint, but evident.

Just tell the truth.

And with that truth, a secret is unlocked and in its place rests my Muse, contented smile on her face while she listens to the songs of the branches swaying in the wind and the crash of the ocean wave. 

.::.

I was holding Jubal one day, the sun bright in the crystal blue sky. We walked around our back yard, his eyes always landing on the tree across the alleyway, leaves blowing in the wind. He'd blink fast, transfixed, his breath slowing.

I kissed his cheek.

"Here's a secret you should probably know, little lion. The trees will tell you things if you listen closely." I study the way he watches the leaves dance across the sky and I smile. 

Things to Consider:

Think back to moments in your life where your Muse began to introduce herself to you. For me, it is the summers spent between desert and mountain — crisp sunlit air and dusty-mid day heat. What about you? 

Grab My Book! 

This book is for the creative who knows you have a story to tell but you have no idea where to start.
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The time for your book is now. There is no excuse. You know this — you feel it in your bones. That's what this book is for — that's why I wrote it. 

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Posted on May 9, 2017 and filed under Building Your Craft, Soul Care, The Memoirs.