High Tree Day
The first, and only, time I heard the term "High Tree Day," I was attending a day-long journaling retreat at the Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau, Alaska – around 30 years ago. I still recall the weather, one of those treasured days in Southeast Alaska when the sky is a brilliant blue, and the only clouds are merely passing by. Not a hint of rain.
The facilitator led us through a series of writing prompts. The five other participants and I wrote, shared, listened, drank herbal tea and longed to get outside. The host's log cabin, although cozy, felt more confining as the morning passed. Everyone in Juneau knows that on a sunny day... you get outside.
Finally, she said that the remainder of the day was ours – to wander, write, sketch, sit, walk the labyrinth – but not talk. "It's a time to listen to yourself, to nature, to reflect, or simply clear your mind." A High Tree Day, she called it.
Of course, we didn't rush to the nearest evergreens and start climbing to a perfect perch. But the image was, and still is, a powerful one for me. High in a tree is time away from foot traffic, from details of the everyday. It is a change in perspective, a chance to see the bigger picture.
A time to be open.
Over the past years, I have taken many High Tree Days, some in nature, others in a comfortable chair or on the floor in our house with books and journals spread around me. I leave my phone and Apple Watch, and their distractions, in a drawer. I climb up my imaginary tree and wonder what I may learn.
Another High Tree Day is way overdue. Last June, I attended a Veriditas labyrinth pilgrimage in Chartres, France and filled a journal with notes and ideas, quotations and inspirations. Ever since then, I have intended to re-read my words, but have allowed daily To Do lists to take priority.
What, I wonder, did I want to carry back home with me, to integrate into my life? Only in quiet reflection, will I know.
I'll sit on the window seat in our upstairs room, looking down on the street, as if I'm perched in a tree. I'll open my labyrinth journal and allow the words to transport me back to France.
What might your High Tree Day (or half day or couple of hours) look like? Is there something, in particular, you want to reflect on? Or perhaps you need time and space for yourself, for whatever bubbles to the surface.
If so, there's a tree just waiting for you.
1/29/2023 06:26:04 am
Thank you for this lovely blog and such a good idea! Blessings and care, dear Twylla. And I believe belated birthday wishes as well!
1/29/2023 11:52:00 am
Thank you for your kind comments, Kathe. I'm so glad that a High Tree Day was meaningful to you! And thanks for the birthday wishes. It was a lovely day, and the sun was even shining! 😊☀️
1/29/2023 10:43:05 pm
High Tree time was just sitting back in quiet mind - yesterday after all guests left a Celebration of Life in the home of a friend who had just passed this month, for which much daily work went into clearing and preparing etc. Give aways were thoughtfully arranged, which guests could take as a memory.
1/30/2023 10:40:11 am
Hi Bianca, I appreciate you sharing about the celebration of life for your friend, followed by your "high tree" time afterwards. I like your description of the time as "sitting back in quiet mind." May the peace of those moments continue in the days ahead.
2/1/2023 01:06:54 pm
Hi Jill, it's always such a gift to hear from you, wherever you are in the world - on which mountain! I'm grateful that my words resonate with you, as someone who reflects deeply on her own journey. Be safe and know that you're in our hearts as you continue on your path.
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Welcome to my blog!
After writing my books, Labyrinth Journeys ~ 50 States, 51 Stories and The Power of Bread, I knew I wasn't finished writing, or journeying.
Please join me as I continue both and see where they lead me (and you!)