After momentary surprise hearing him use this word, I replied that I was sharing some much needed love with the distressed tree.
I thought Jim might be somewhat alarmed to have visual confirmation that he really does have a tree hugger next door. Instead he said, "I've got several in my yard that could use that." Surprised again.
Instead of following up on how he might give his trees some of 'that' we talked about the needed rain and how I had watered a few of the trees in his yard last weekend with my garden hose then compared notes on the latest livestock (deer) sightings. Jim's usually up long before me but this morning by 5:15 a young mother fed at his sidewalk that I actually saw and he missed.
The essence of our exchange reminded me of talking with my deceased father, the comparing of notes regarding daily life in a safe and simple back and forth but there was something else familiar. As Jim surprised me with his use of the word meditating, my father once surprised me when he asked if I knew what happened to the people who built the pyramids in South America. Out of the blue the man I thought I knew referenced something way beyond our standard conversation prompting me to think, 'I don't really know you.' All efforts to later try to get to know this man who was my father were rebuffed or met with condescension until the months before his death.
I now suspect my experience with my father unconsciously kept me from following up on Jim's comment.
At the conclusion of our exchange, Jim and I wished one another a good day. He returned to his yard and I returned to the tree. I put my arms around it yet sensed a shift in me. I was unashamedly and joyfully being me hugging that tree regardless of who saw me or might think me pagan or communist. (I'm neither a pagan or communist but am aware with the upcoming election and fear running high these days that the word communist will surface in accusations and maybe even pagan though I don't think Pres. Obama's been accused of being pagan yet.)
This time as I hugged the tulip poplar in our back yard I heard: "As you be you, you allow us to be ourselves. We are so much more than gets portrayed in movies or on tv".
To have this dear tree under distress from the severe lack of rain share its wisdom with me brought me deep joy. I do want to be me, more than I've ever been me. If I'm committed and awake, I'm certain I'll discover that just like the trees there's so much more to me. Similarly I'm certain that just as with my neighbor and my father there's so much more to human beings than we know or think we know.
My neighbor's happening upon me this morning unexpectedly freed me. Maybe on some level he walked away feeling a bit free-er too. What does feeling free-er to be You feel and look like to you?
Imagine the Shift.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 6 July 2012