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The Teachings of Dawn Redwood

I had the experience of meeting the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) a couple days ago.

This special tree was once native to our region (as seen in fossil records), and thought to have been extinct for between 5-20 million years, until a grove was discovered growing deep in a valley in China in the 1940s. Still considered “critically endangered,” it has now been propagated in places throughout the US.

It’s always exciting and exhilarating to meet a new plant friend, especially one I feel has called out to me. I love the anticipation of how they will share their medicine, their energy, their spirit with me.

As I nibbled on some leaf and leaned my back against the trunk of this ancient redwood, I was spiraled upwards into the tall, sturdy trunk. Hovering above me, a perfect circle of light appeared to be raining out light in all directions, and along with it, an exquisite amount of love.

I felt a dynamic balance between the sturdy center and the flowing, watery-like grace of the supple branches and soft, fern-like leaves. Her energy reminded me of a poised martial artist, incredibly centered and ready to ease-fully bend and dance with whatever life brought to her.

I can understand why this sweet spirit is now returning to help us and support the times that we’re in. Finding the sturdiness of being centered within ourselves, and yet the flexibility of moving and flowing with grace is such an important combination, such an important medicine for humans as the world around us changes so quickly.

Can we maintain center when things feel like they’re falling apart?

Can we learn to hold lightly, not tightly, moving like water in flexibility and grace when we encounter challenges so we bend, not break?

Can we learn to hold our still, center of truth, the center of alignment within ourselves, while also beaming love?

soft, fern-like needles of the Dawn Redwood

I've come to understand that the plants are here to help us.

We are so much more similar than we realize.

They truly have so much beauty to share with us about what it means to embody healthier, more connected ways of being human. Each plant offers a unique medicine and perspective. There is a remedy for every misalignment and growth-edge.

If you have the opportunity to find one of these very old and wise Dawn Redwoods, I highly recommend it. If you're local, you can visit one in the Portland Arboretum.

As always, if you end up sitting with them I'd love to hear about your experience!


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