For two years (in rain, heat or snow), a group of us in Rochester, NY have been going out and helping the trees in local parks by removing invasive species of vines which threaten to pull them down. In the process, we discovered a whole new way of communing with trees and nature and woods.
We call ourselves the Druid Brigade. Here’s the story of how the Druid Brigade began. Perhaps it can help you reconnect to trees and nature and be a balm for your soul, too.
Druids have a unique ability that allows them to raise their vibration into various forms which assists them in natural settings.
Finding purpose with trees
It was 2021. Covid was still around and we were not visiting public places much. One fall day, my friends Jen Ward, Michele and I, decided to get some exercise and walk in the park behind Jen’s house.
About a quarter of the way into the park, Jen heard the trees asking her to free them of vines. She had always been attuned to trees and had written a book, the Wisdom of the Trees. On this particular day, she encouraged us to pause and listen. We stopped and began pulling off the thin strands of vines that stretched up into the trees. We pulled with both arms till the vines unleashed themselves from the tree. We took the vines off one tree, walked a few yards, and Jen heard requests from more trees. We climbed steep parts of the spinoff trails where the trees were harder to get at and had thicker vines. I toggled between brush till I could grasp vines to pull off with my bare hands.
Each time we pulled off the vines we felt the tree take a breath. I started to follow the requests of the nearby tree and moved towards where I thought I heard a request from another tree. Jen called up to me where I stood pulling off the vines, “Let’s get some clippers and gloves tomorrow and bring them with us into the glen. We can come back tomorrow and do the trees on the other side that I promised.”
Listening to the trees
The next day, the three of us headed off to the hardware store to pick up some tools. We bought clippers, gloves and a saw and headed back into the glen to help the other trees that we couldn’t get to the day before. We rounded the trail where we had promised the other trees help.
Then I heard them myself. Most were shocked we had returned like we said we would. I heard one tree say it didn’t believe we would come back. The tree no longer believed the word of humans.
“They stopped believing in humans. But they are so excited we remembered and came back,” Jen commented. Now it looked like the trees were brighter; the trunks of trees no longer looked separate from me. They were closer, more real and vibrant. Is this how trees spoke up?
I looked at the trees and felt an energy coming from them. Did they see us? I remembered back to childhood and the peace I had known back then with trees. I also had an awakening experience with trees 20 years before, but I had not connected it to my purpose at the time or realized it was so special.
Now, I was waking up to the trees. As I listened and helped them, their voices got louder and clear.
We got busy pulling off vines and cutting the vines so they wouldn’t grow back. It was early fall and the poison ivy was out as well as ticks. We tried to avoid both.
Jen noticed the trees loved the vines removed from their base, so they could get the sun on them there. We added this to our repertoire of clearing vines from the trees. Now it included pulling the thin vines off that were dangling and making sure the base was clear by cutting back the vines that blocked the sun.
Two hours went by as we walked around the glen and worked on different trees. We stopped to take before and after photos of the trees we worked on. The trees always looked calmer, more awake, more joyful afterwards. The vines were no longer pulling on them. And they stood free as more light hit their trunks. I noticed that as I freed the trees of vines, a calm came over me too. I became more in sync with the tree, the more time I spent helping the tree.
Eventually, we invited more people along and were able to get to more parks and more trees.
As we made more trips to the hardware store, we added copper nails and hammers to the list. Jen shared how copper nails prevented the vines from coming back. So, after we cut a thick vine with a saw, we hammered in a couple of copper nails so the vine wouldn’t come back.
We went into the woods with axes, saws, hammers, gloves, protective clothing, clippers, copper nails and more. By then, Jen had named us the Druid Brigade.
Healing from nature
Sitting under a tree after I had removed the vines, I could feel the gratitude from the tree seep through the pores into the cells of my body. After the vines came off the tree, the tree could breathe better. It felt like the trees were clearing my mind and emotions too. They were releasing old conditioning for me. It’s like the trees were filled with wisdom—especially some of the trees that had been around for a hundred or more years. Once you cleared them, they gifted you with wisdom and clarity.
It felt like I cleared away some of what was old conditioning for me: victim mentality, not having a clear, loud voice.
Back at the house, we had to remove the clothing and soak in a tub to be sure we hadn’t brought in unwanted insects. I would learn how important that would become—to remove all clothing and wash it and the body right away.
We returned again and again to the woods to different parks. Each time there was a calm and centering that would happen to me after helping the trees. I noticed it with everyone who went out with me.
Whatever dross, angst, lack of peace was lurking would fall away in the presence of helping the trees.
The community of trees
After a couple of years, it now feels like trees are true friends. They listen, empathize, and help me transcend the whirlwind of mental and emotional activity that can be disruptive to humans.
After spending time in the woods and putting trees first, you appreciate the miracles in the world of the woods. Forests come alive and the beings in the forest trust you more; you become part of nature, instead of a casual observer. Lines are blurred between humans and trees, and you enter into the magic of the true community of trees.