There is a wooded area beside the house called 'The Grove' with large hemlock trees that stand in a perfect circle, creating a sacred space of silence and beauty.
I cleared out some of the undergrowth at the edge of this 'Grove' last week, removing small evergreens that grew where the shade and sunlight met.
Some of these were still so young that you could push them over with one finger. Others were a little more sturdy. In each case I asked permission to remove the young tree, and in each case the tree responded. Most said: "Yes, you may take me, for I will grow again elsewhere." This is what I had become accustomed to in the life of the forest. But there were three little saplings that stood like skinny fingers next to each other. They did not have many branches or look particularly lovely. Yet each of these three told me: "No, you must leave me here." This was surprising because of their unimpressive appearance, and yet I respected their wishes and left them alone. I believe that despite their outer appearance, they played an important part in the maintenance of the root system in that area of the woods.
With the undergrowth somewhat cleared, the large, beautiful hemlocks could now be seen in their grandeur from within the house - old residents of the forest floor, elders of the Earth.
See also: Speaking to Trees