Tree Therapy

“Doug, I was wondering if you had any more apples that needed picking….I really enjoyed doing that last weekend, it was so relaxing.”    Message on the answering machine from our friend Marilyn

     Later when Marilyn did stop out, she told me she felt so relaxed after an hour in the orchard picking apples, it was “better than going to a therapist” to which I replied..”I think we should call it “tree therapy…that will be $20.00 please “


 Then I read this in the local paper last night  …

   “Whenever I’m feeling sorry about losing Dan, I come out here, and it’s gone, just like that.  There’s something about the healing power of working in gardens.” 

Celtic believers have long maintained  the veil between us and God is thinner in a garden.

    (I’d like to  add, in an orchard)   They called those places and experiences  “Thin places”

  “In simple terms a ‘thin place’ is a place where the veil between this world and the next  is thin….

      I (DM) promise not to get all new-age on you, but I can’t tell you the number of times someone has commented when they’ve visited our place, they’ve experienced a profound sense of peace and tranquility, and on occasion  had their  spiritual batteries recharged.

     It happens to me    all      the      time.

     My grandpa Conley  used to say, he felt closer to God when he was fishing than going to church which was why he did the former.   At the time, I thought, yea, right, that’s just an excuse Grandpa, but now, 30 years later,  I would have to say he was probably being honest and not just making a lame excuse.

Here are a few pictures I’ve taken in our East Orchard:

Early morning in May looking toward the East Orchard 

 Another view of early morning in the orchard


     Pruning is the art of trimming an apple tree to keep it healthy and fruitful.   I regularly find myself thinking about the spiritual implications in my own personal life. 

     If you don’t prune an apple tree (and I’ve intentionally let a couple of them go without  just to see what would happen)…the fruit is small…lots of little apples that aren’t worth that much.

     You also prune diseased or dead branches  to keep them from spreading to the rest of the tree….sort of like having certain relationships/ or activities a person might be involved in that are not good for them.


This is not original with me, but if you’re someone who thinks about having a fruitful life…think long and hard about the fruitfulness of an apple tree.  Have you ever seen an apple tree grunting? 

Nope, me neither

They just quietly stay connected to their root system drawing nourishment from the ground, combined with  sunshine and  rain..and wha-la…in it’s season, it produces a crop of fruit.

    All  apple trees don’t produce the same type of fruit either.  Did you know there are over 2000 varieties of apple trees world-wide? 

  So why do we think our fruit need to all look the same?


  The biggest rush I get however, is harvest time.  I get a tiny little jolt of joy every time I remove an apple from the tree branch.   Some of you will probably think I’m crazy, but sometimes I am so overwhelmed  by the sheer volume of apples on a branch I’ve said “Thank you” to the tree as I’ve picked.   *(probably got that from watching movies where the native americans would say something over the buffalo they’ve just killed):-)


continuing 1 hr later….

    I just came in from digging a couple of hills of new potatoes to make for breakfast for our B and B guests…noticed the 2nd crop of green beans need picking today.  This reminds me of another mystery I’ve thought about as I’ve worked outside in the garden and orchard. 

 A Seed

       One seed becomes a plant-  not over night mind you, but over the course of several weeks.  When I plant the seed, I don’t go back and dig it up to see if it’s growing.  nope,  I might water it, pull some weeds, etc. but leave the original seed alone. similar to  life…I “plant” seeds of kindness and love, then often times/ not always that seed takes root and begins to germinate, and something beautiful begins to form.

    Well, it’s about time for coffee.   Wife is probably wondering where in the heck I am. 

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3 Responses to Tree Therapy

  1. Rosanna Seabold says:

    I think your photos speak volumes to your thoughts. Church does not cut it for me anymore. A beautiful sunrise, the smell of dry leaves, digging in dirt, laying on the grass. These are the things that give me glimpses of God.

    As a side note – I am reading a wonderful book called “Einstein’s God” by Krista Tippett (host of NPR’s Speaking of Faith). I think you would enjoy it. I keep re-reading pages – something I rarely do.

    • DM says:

      Rosanna, church doesn’t cut it for me either, at least in the old traditional sense of the word and the book you mentioned sounds like a must read…(I’m thinking next Winter I need to get a copy, sit in my favorite stuffed chair looking out @ the blowing snow, drinking dark roast coffee and reading that book. thanks for stopping by the blog.

  2. I haven’t been visiting blogs much at all lately – much less writing my own – but every time I visit your blogs I am SO glad I did! Thanks for writing it, DM.

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