To be kin with the trees is to let their roots become your veins. Their branches, your limbs. Their leaves, your lungs. Their waters, your blood.
The jungle air is moist on your skin, and you drink it in, every pore enlivened and awake, informed by all that lives.
The sun is a gift your core reaches towards, making it a part of what your heart. Lightning is alive in your bark.
The soil makes sense with your every step, tilling it for the crawling creatures who feast on debris and make food for more trees.
The birds sing songs the wind whispers through you. You know the language of their flight. They rely on the might of your ability to stand for them.
The lush plants all have special colors radiate a pattern you can see: sacred geometries imbued in their codes shining forth.
The secrets to balance and harmony, the laws of the universe, the web of life is a prismatic rainbow that reaches your inner eye, and ignites your purpose:
to be one with all that is, to give and receive in equal measure. To know in your center the land is the treasure.
The rivers and streams are the strands of dreams that feed your greens and blooms, becoming part of you, for you are the convergence of the elements: water, light, earth, and air.
To keep the dreams safe for new life to thrive. To know what it means to be alive.
To be free to stretch beyond walls and structures. To understand the destruction that answers man when he covers up the land.
When he cuts your brothers and sisters down to make room for more farms and towns.
When the rivers are dark with ashes of forests past, and new poisons man creates with his machines of despair and hate.
With every flame that licks your skin you burn for your kin.
You feel them vanish from the earth in smoke that chokes on its way out: the suffocating grief obscures their screams as they merge with the clouds.
Even the air turns to ash and coal, and the only song heard anymore is the melody of goodbye when birds have nowhere left to rest and fly till they fall.
When man pillages the land, and paints the world black with fire and oil, and you have no more soil to seedlings.
This is what tree affinity means. To be forever without roots in the footprints of his boots. To be a melancholy thing.
A memory of a dream, too faint to be heard on the wind these days, so you pray the youth will get their hands in the dirt and remember what comes first, before the stakes and flags.
For even the grandest man would fall without land upon which to stand.
Copyright © Sheyorah Naify, 2021
All Rights Reserved.
Author’s Note: Tree Affinity has long been a name I’ve used for communications, ever since I was given my totems by a Curandero after a summer in the Peruvian Amazon, when I knew I’d become an apprentice. Everyone got their totems before I did, and they celebrated their animal kinships. But I was two trees: Wiracaspi: the tree of wind and song, and Tamamuri: the Faerie tree. I could not have imagined how deep my relationship with trees would eventually run. I am now in the Bardic grade of Druidic studies, and finally feel full permission to feel the trees as deeply as I do.