It was near the end of summer, still warm in Michigan. My husband and I were touring a tree nursery. The man that worked there escorted us down long row of trees, all neatly balled and on display for purchase. I held the landscape architect’s blueprint in my mind — only a few types of trees fit the plan.
As we walked, I noticed a sickly tree, off to the side, leaning against a pile of woodchips. Actually, it seemed more like it had fallen over. Most of its leaves had fallen off. This tree didn’t fit the plan so I didn’t really consider it, but I felt sorry for it because I was sure it was dead, but then a faint voice entered my head, pleading, “Help, me.” I was certain the “voice” was my imagination, because I believed trees didn’t talk. (I should point out that I wasn’t a shamanic healer at that time. In fact, I was an atheist, so the concept of Oneness and the ability to communicate with nature spirits was foreign to me.) I walked away, examining a row of healthy trees that were full of green leaves. We reached the end of that row and returned down another. As we approached the sickly tree again, I heard its faint voice repeat, “Help, me.” Now I was concerned about the state of my mind. Why did I think this tree was talking to me?
The third time around, I avoided looking at the sickly tree, but, as we passed by, I heard its voice once more say, “Help, me.” My heart couldn’t ignore the tree’s pleas any longer. I pointed at the sickly tree, and asked the employee, “How much?” He and my husband looked at the nearly dead tree leaning to the side. The employee contemplated for a moment, then gave me a price that was fairly high (considering the shape the tree was in), but he assured me they had a one-year guarantee. “I’ll take it,” came out of my mouth, surprising both me and my husband.
A week later, the tree company installed the sickly tree that didn’t fit the architect’s blueprint and I wondered if my impulsive move had been wise.
The tree stood barren all fall and winter. I often studied it from the back windows, wondering if it would survive because I no longer heard its voice.
When Spring arrived, buds appeared on the branches of the once sickly tree. It had survived! After a few more years, the tree turned into a beautiful, lollipop-shaped tree, lush and green, and obviously happy with its place in this world.