Meeting The Neighbors


After months and months of living here on the Oregon coast, I finally am getting the opportunity to meet my neighbors.  I am very pleased to introduce you to one of my favorites…

I have been so amazed to discover that there is a 900 year old cedar tree just a few blocks from where I live.  It is hidden back in on a large piece of land that was set aside to become a city park when the town was laid out back in the 1890’s.  It is a park that was planned for, but never was developed by the community where I live.  So, this area has sat untouched by humans basically since then and it is now a full on, thickly forested wild spot smack dab in the middle of a tiny beach community that nestles on the little the bit land found between the mountains and the pacific ocean.

manzanita nightcolorshome sweet home, just round the bay between the ocean and mountains at night

This particular bit of land is surrounded by human development on three sides, but backs up on the east side right into the foothills of the Northern Coastal Mountain Range of the Tillamook Forest found behind our homes.  This is just one part of a larger forest system which stretches from the west coast of Oregon unbroken clear up into Canada/Alaska and down into California.  It is forest that is so dense that it is hard to navigate through at all.

Even though it could attract more tourist $$$ by becoming a unique stopping destination, the town, in it’s wisdom, has quietly just let the land and this tree do their thing without advertising it’s presence (with too many feet visiting, this would compact the soil and the tree would most likely die sooner).  So, the only way to even know this tree is there is if a local finds you worthy enough to share the secret information that it is present, and then physically takes you to point out the location of the start of the trail to get in to see it.  The little path off the street is completely unmarked and basically is impossible to see.

the path inthe path in from the road…magic portal into a deeper way of being 🙂

Earlier in the summer N & I finally reached enough local status to be deemed worthy of being told about the tree and were shown it’s location by a delightful human neighbor.  It is SPECTACULAR.  You step off of a perfectly normal “urban” city street into a dense coastal forest within only a few feet.  If you turn around and look back after just a few steps in, the town completely disappears as if it were never there.

flow in

On my first visit to this tree I experienced what I can only describe as a distinct feeling that the tree and the forest absolutely knew that I was there.  This little patch of nature is surrounded on three sides by lots of human activity so I think it is wild land specifically attuned to the presence of humans in a special way due to such close proximity of their homes.  I felt a sense of great love and support coming from the land, and particularly this tree, as soon as my feet stood on that ground.

As I moved deeper into the forest and close by the tree, my eyes spontaneously welled up as a result of hitting a wave of great, overwhelming joy.  It was like being welcomed by an embrace into the presence of a comfortable, unflappable, wise old friend.  It was a delicious feeling.

tea with tree

Think that sounds crazy?!?  Well, WELL worth watching the following:

It turns out that this experience may not be as new age woo woo sounding as it may initially seem.  It it is very possible that I was unconsciously smelling, and then consciously feeling, the meaning of an ancient scent of chemical  communication of “welcome” that the forest puts out when we are aware.  Could it be that the forest and this tree could “smell” in return the current emotional/chemical make up of a human being (me), one who in that moment was experiencing deep admiration and sacredness in a reverent approach into this special wilderness surrounded by human life?  (Separation that melted away in chemical communication).

Does the state of aware presence in love in human beings have a detectable smell?!?  We often talk about “the smell of fear” now don’t we.


Interesting to think about.

At any rate, I feel so blessed to live so close to such a magic and holy spot.

I am just in the process of getting together a traveling tea set and in the near future I am absolutely looking forward to taking a picnic in and having tea with this special tree. It is a Native American tradition to toast and always spill a little of ones drink first on the ground as a share in gratitude to and with the earth that is our very home.  I think that hiking in with a little pot of Townshend Tea to share in the flavor of say, Forest Park, will just do the trick.

wise old elder cedar tree

head of an elephant


I love the fact that when humans and trees communicate and collaborate, such beauty can be smelt, felt and heard when human hands touch wood with love.


This entry was published on August 2, 2014 at 3:40 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

14 thoughts on “Meeting The Neighbors

  1. Want a little L*U*C*K in your life? L.iving U.sing C.onscious K.nowing -just touch wood 🙂

  2. This is a wonderfully enticing and evocative story M, for which, many thanks. The photograph of the narrow pathway flanked by Hostas (or whatever they are), evokes in me memories of the feelings I get when I walk along The Sweet Track on the other side of Glastonbury – an ancient timber causeway built in 3807 or 3806 B.C.

    I can’t say I can make any sense of why these feelings arise, and nor do I have any theories, though it’s something to do with familiarity. You say ‘. . . a distinct feeling that the tree and the forest absolutely knew that I was there.’ This seems redolent of what I feel too when I refer to ‘familiarity’.

    Whether these feelings are linked to receptor neurons in the olfactory passage is, I suppose, an interesting question. One might speculate though, that the recognition of any necessary odour molecules would have ‘evolved out’ as humans increasingly dwelt away from forests or ancient habitats with particular odours. The human olfactory system only has affinities for certain odours apparently, though of course, we can still smell trees, habitats, and so on, with some attendant level of knowledge, and hence, feeling.

    H’s blindingly obvious, though doubtless flawed, test for a solution:

    When you have the tea party with the tree M, wear nostril plugs and see what you feel?

    Hariod. ❤

    P.S. Perhaps your video link will provide an answer; I will watch it later.

    • I think that the idea of possibly “smell” being a communication cue between all living things on this planet is only one potential layer in the puzzle we currently find on earth. I think our ancestors were much more “fluent” in EARTH SPEAK 🙂 .

      I do know that the sense of smell is hardwired back into the oldest parts of the human brain, those parts that bypass the higher reasoning/thinking centers. I have unofficially dipped into the sciences related to the human body, but I did not take the time to file details, rather impressions. However, I do remember an astonishing test where mothers who had just given birth and had only held their babies for a few hours could usually accurately pick out their child’s shirt offered as a part of a test smelling it when presented amongst others. There is so much going on on autopilot in the human body that I think used to be a normal and natural part of our conscious sensory array. (will include a few links for anyone interested in more detail)

      The timeline for recorded interactions between humans and the land in your part of the world is astounding. Of course there were amazing people who lived where I now am, but their oral traditions describing their interaction with the land was lost as they were systematically and purposefully decimated. My heart pangs a bit each time I think about the amount of “nature” wisdom lost. I love hearing some of the few remaining stories as they show that the forest and the animals recognized the native people who were living here as belonging and as “their own”. For example, the Blue Jay birds would not call out warnings when the local Indians would move in the forest, but they did when the settlers did!

      I think as a human being living focused on “doing” all from and with aware presence, more and more things that seem “magical” start to surface as a byproduct in the flow of life. I am however still working on striking up a conversation with the Stellar Jays that live in my yard. I would LOVE them to “smell” me as the “family” that I know I am, too. 🙂

       photo stellarjayoregon.jpg

      • I watched the video about plants and trees M – very interesting.

        On the surface, there appears to be evidence gathering for a panexperientialist take on the plant world i.e. it’s not that plants have consciousness (they are not ‘with knowledge’ derived by a so-called ‘mind’), but that they do constitute and conform to particular types of experiences as do animals like us with minds.

        Weird innit? I’m off to talk to a tree.

        H. ❤

      • Be sure to say hello from me!

        I have been involved in a life long romance with these wise “beings” who so beautifully hold presence on our planet. One of the few records of antiquity to discuss in written form a bit of history about the Druids (Roman era writing I think) says that the Druids “turned into trees”.

      • P.S. I used to live on North Dartmoor just a short distance from Wistman’s Wood at a place called Holy Street – it was magical there. The above video is an excerpt from Satish Kumar’s documentary ‘A Year on Dartmoor’:

        Hariod. ❤

      • Wise words from a wise man who has truly lived and loved. The murmuration of starlings was spectacular. What a special spot to have lived so close to. (BTW Blue Tits are my favorites. N misses seeing them in the gardens here, too!)

        For those readers in the USA, please more formally meet these little darlings dressed ready to go to a masquerade ball (or so it has always looked to me 🙂 ):

      • Thanks M; Blue Tits are such delightful little creatures and I’m fortunate in having many visit my home where there’s a plentiful supply of food for them – but no Blue Jays here sadly! Perhaps the really smart birds are the crows though; have you seen this before?

        H. ❤

      • That was an amazing share! I can’t wait to look into this. I have many crows that live in the area around where I am. Often in the morning, they come and line up on the fence in my front yard. It seems as if they are having some sort of neighborhood meeting to start the day. -x.M

      • Respect those local Corvids M; I know you will. H. ❤

  3. Oh the trees, the trees! I do love them, how they have touched my life, inl leaning against them for a long quiet moment, just to chat and energy exchange, in watching my children climb and giggle upon them, in watching them twist and turn and grow and bloom and drop leaves and wave and bow their wispy snow covered branches in winter, or in simply reading of them as Tolkien’s Ents or Silverstein’s Giving Tree. I can smell the lovely fragrance of tree love and connection emanating from the west coast and it is delicious. Cheers to you M for this lovely post, over a cup of tea. 🙂

    • Message(s) received with a happy heart. “Tree” consciousness is such an amazing thing to think about. Nature has so much to teach us. Going to go out in just a bit for a walk down “dragonfly” lane which is an unpaved road which leads to the beach. I almost always have a dragonfly or two find me there. I think magic children must send them back my way to say hello. -xxxx.M

  4. Great video M! Flantologist, I didn’t knew they existed! 🙂 P

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