I’m reading a beautiful book called Like A Tree written by one of my favorite authors Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen. It’s about….get this: Trees. But so much more than trees. It’s a beautiful account of our deep connection to trees which often begins in childhood and which we all too often forget as we grow older. But I remember my childhood tree in my front yard in Miami. I would wait under that tree every morning before school for my carpool ride to arrive. I spoke to it, listened to it, marveled at it. It was large and powerful and majestic and I felt so safe leaning against it. Fast forward 32 years and I have another special tree in my backyard which my family calls “the Bailey tree”. We’ve named it that because our beloved pit bull Bailey is buried under it after having lived a full and happy life sharing her love with our family. The Bailey tree is a bottlebrush tree which means that when it blooms it is a most beautiful sight of bright red blossoms that are soft and fuzzy to the touch. I had just finished reading a part of Dr. Bolen’s book which literally took my breath away. She wrote about an experiment that was done with experienced meditators and trees in which highly sensitive recording devices were used to measure the rhythms of human breath and tree sap rise and fall. Guess what they found? Each tree slowed the flow of its sap to match the breathing pattern of its human meditator! I was astounded and completely inspired. I grabbed a blanket and headed outside to the Bailey tree. After circling it a few times to try to find the optimal place in which to sit and lean against the tree (not an easy task with this type of tree which does not always provide a comfortable vertical trunk) I finally located a spot that provided only mild discomfort from a couple branches poking into my kidneys. I said a prayer of gratitude for the tree, its life, its shade, its blossoms, and its protection of Bailey’s final resting place. As I crossed my legs and placed my hands upright on my knees to begin my meditation (and thus my own experience of breathing with the tree) a bottlebrush blossom literally fell into my open right palm. It was as if the tree (and Bailey) were personally welcoming me into their world with the most exquisite of offerings and affirmation. Where do you find magic in your own backyard? Which is your favorite childhood (and adulthood) tree?