The Day the Mountain Spoke

By Barbara Janelle M.A.

First Published Species Link, October-December, 1995

When I teach Therapeutic Touch, I take my students out to the trees. I tell them to go to separate trees, lean their backs against them, and ask the trees to work on them. The trees are powerful energy workers as well as very wise beings. This exercise finishes with the students asking their trees a question and listening for the answer. Again and again, the result is a transformation in understanding and a growing awareness that there are other beings, wise and skilled, sharing this planet with us.

In mid July, I went hiking one day in the Santa Fe, New Mexico National Forest with friends. The path on the mountain started off easily enough. Wide and gentle and inviting, it led up through an aspen forest underlain with grass and brilliant red Cardinal Flowers. The path hugged a tiny stream, and the ground was black and a little slippery because there had been rain recently.

The path narrowed and quickly became a very steep track up the mountain side. The dogs with us played in the stream and sped up the trail, leaping upward with sheer delight over areas that were becoming more difficult for me to climb. Jeri Ryan and Sandy Arndt encouraged me forward. I kept thinking, “How am I ever going to get down?”

Going up, the trees helped me by offering hand holds. They felt good–soft and warm to my hand. Indeed, the bark seemed to soften as I touched it so that my hand fit into the trunk. Each aspen was warm in my hand, even though we were climbing in shade. Jeri said, “The trees are helping you because you have honored them so much.”

When we started back down, I was afraid that I would slip or trip and go crashing down. Sandy took my water bottle and Jeri pointed to the tree handholds. I reached for the trunks and they welcomed my touch. Step by step I backed down the very steep places. The trees spoke to me in my head, “Hold onto us. Trust us. We are solid.”

Then I would grip a root and hear in my head, “Trust us. Trust.” Step by step down, the voices spoke of trust. Then the rocks began encouraging me to trust them too! With each step, my center dropped deeper–I became quieter, more stable, and I focused on the grace and ease with which I was moving.

We paused to catch our breath and I put my back to an aspen and asked it to work on me. It filled me with energy–a cooling glow. We continued down.

The grasses spoke of trust and my feet were solid on them. The dirt on the path said, “Trust” and my feet moved with confidence, as if on level land. I have seldom heard the voices so loud and certain in my mind. Then the chorus came together and the mountain spoke in tones of celebration, “Trust Me!” And I felt safe, honored and at home.