Magnolia Wisdom

Have you ever had a thought that pops into your awareness seemingly out of nowhere? Like a nudge to do something? I often do, and I’ve learned to take notice of nature’s invitation.

While teaching my Befriending Trees courses, I kept seeing a particular tree in my mind’s eye- a big old magnolia tree. When the image kept popping into my awareness, I thought to myself– “oh, I should stop by to visit that Magnolia.”

Well, a few days later, Magnolia was done waiting! I was out in a nearby town, Pacific Grove, after teaching a class. In my head I kept seeing the tree- and the messages

“get grounded with a tree”,

“take nature time for you” and then almost in an insistent tone

“visit the Magnolia”

Okay, okay its time!

Greeting an old friend

I drove to a nearby urban park where Magnolia lived. Despite traffic congestion, I happily and easily found a convenient parking space (of course!) directly across the street. Walking across the lawn toward the trees, I felt my heart feel fuller in anticipation of greeting this big beautiful old magnolia tree friend.

Southern Magnolia, Jewell Park in Pacific Grove, California

As I approached, a smile came across my face. I stood in front of it, visually taking in the whole tree with my eyes, following the broad trunk up the large boughs, and into the canopy of large glossy leaves. My breath began to slow and a sense of calm washed over me.

Looking up into the strong branching boughs.

I took some steps away to look at the leaves up in the canopy and at first glance I didn’t see many seed cones or flowers. So I wondered, “when is the flowering season?”

Beginning to see the unseen

As I scanned the canopy, visually and methodically combing the branches, I began to see more flowers.  There were colorful leaves and seed pods in various stages of development. 

In the past, I had not really paid attention to when it flowers. But today, I noticed that as I spent more time observing the tree, I began to notice more flowers. Like when you look through binoculars, and turn the focus knob, the view coming into focus. How could I have totally missed the large, showy white blossoms when I first arrived? 

I nature journaled for about 15 minutes at the park- sketching the tree and various stages from bud, flower to seed pod.

Magnolia wisdom

While I was doing this the thought came into my awareness:

“Take your time. Let your eyes adjust to the initial busy distraction of all the leaves and you will soon spot what was previously unseen and hidden in plain sight. Pay loving attention and open up to the discovery”


It’s so true in so many ways. Like when you first go out to see the night sky, it takes several minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, and to begin to see the stars.

How much of our world do we miss by moving at a fast pace, rushing around mindlessly trying to finish our to-dos? 

What treasures will be revealed to us if we only took a few moments, and with focused intention, took time to just BE with nature?

Nature held up a lovely mirror- a reminder for me to slow my pace, and move through life with intention.

How about you?

Have you ever had a thought pop into your awareness when in nature?

Did you take notice and reflect on the message?

Was there an invitation to follow through? What did you discover? 

Practice noticing nature’s messages

Nature is always speaking to us, but only those who listen will hear the messages. All it takes is to pause, BE with intention, and listen with your heart without judgement or over analyzing.

If you’d like to learn how listen for tree wisdom, join me for 

Befriending trees: Summer Song course beginning live on July 6.

Each season we explore different seasonal topics with trees. 

Learn more here.

An Invitation

Take time today to notice a nearby tree. What stage of growth is it in? Are there other trees around it? Does it look cared for? What do you notice and wonder about?

I invite you to find the largest tree you can. Walk up to it and place a hand on the trunk. What does it feel like? The texture or does it have a temperature, or feel solid and grounded?

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