When a Tree Falls in the Woods, What Rises?

An encounter in the woods with a wise woman, angry man and a falling tree shifts everything. 

The other day, I took my dog for a game of fetch in a field near the woods. As I drove up in my car, the parking lot was blocked by a giant pick up truck idling. The driver was out of his truck and standing a few feet away, bellowing at a tiny grey haired women who looked to be in her 60’s. (He looked to be in his 40’s).

There was a teen skate boarder dude between them. I assumed it was a domestic dispute. She seemed to be standing near a car that was her own, parked on side of road. A poodle hovered next to her, concerned and protective.

The man saw I could not get into the small parking lot his truck blocked and so went back to his truck and moved out of my way. I let my dog into the field, and watched as this fellow drove over to this woman’s car, got out, and continued shouting at her. I could not make out the details, but I could tell she was rattled. ‘

He drove off, and she did. I assumed she had left. The skateboarder was now gone. I was busy throwing the ball for my dog. Then, she came up behind me, her poodle in tow.

“That was so incredible” she said. “He was so angry.”

“Do you know him?”

She looked at me and I saw the fear and confusion in her eyes. I noticed she was shaking, her hands fluttering in the aftermath of adrenalin as she stroked her dog.

“No, I don’t know him. He was angry I had parked under that tree instead of the parking lot. He said it was illegal. He was calling the police,”

I looked over to where I had seen her car parked. Yes, it was a half on the road, half on a gravel trail. But i”d see many cars park like that before when the lot was full.

I said, “What did he care?”

“He said it was dangerous for the kids, For skateboarders who might not get by me or veer into the road to get around me.”

“What about the skateboarder I saw next to your car?”

“He was standing up for me. He said, ‘Hey dude, it’s fine. there’s lots of room.”

I looked back over at the road. This was a kind of quiet area, not a major road. It was a residential street — what the hell was this man over reacting for? You have to picture this: a five foot grey hair lady and a 6 foot plus 250 pound man…it was like David and Goliath.

I wondered:

Had a child of his been hit by a car? Had a friend or relative been killed by a parking infraction…I knew he could not be this angry without a slice of personal pain. He was.seeing the world through the lens of his story and through the finite self that suffers.

And I was seeing his story unfold through mine. So I asked myself: Why am I here in this very moment to witness this anger and pain? What part of me is angry and in pain? What part of my own psyche still suffers?

The woman looked shaken, still  I told her, “Read the book, the Four Agreements.”

She asked for details of why. I explained to her this man’s rage was something to not take personally, that she was a trigger for his pre-existing story.

Yet what i did not say to her was the opposite truth, the paradox that we can take EVERYTHING personally. Because everything is a reflection of Self. All of it has import and meaning. Conflict outside of me is reflecting an inner conflict. That I was a witness to this man’s rage and that it was not directed at me, was a message for me…and I knew it had to to with my falling out with my spiritual teacher, who yes, is a man.

What happened next, was magic.

We were assaulted by a roaring sound, and snapping and crashing — as if a wild boar was charging.simultaneously, she and I both turned to the woods. Our dogs stood stock still. It grew in volume, and then there was a deafening ka-boom. We both saw it then. The huge tree that had hit the earth. A falling tree, A fucking falling tree.

I’ve never seen or heard a tree fall. Just by itself. No wind. No logger. She and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. We hugged. We high-fived.

She said. “I feel so much better. The whole day has shifted.”

I knew what she meant. The tree that fell was for me a symbol: the falling of the angry masculine paradigm that has been in place for too long. You see…I have been blessed by The Mother and have Returned to Her. But in doing so, there has also been a leave-taking of the old way. The authority way. The hierarchy way.

We are heading into a new paradigm and the old WILL TOPPLE…and we will laugh and high five as it does. We will see innocence in anger, We will see when one way falls, a new way emerges.

FALLING: Authority. Autocracy. Domination. Submission. Fear. Anger. Attack. Blame. Right. Wrong. Hate. Intimidation. Manipulation. Suspicion, Control. Shaming. Exclusion.

RISING: Mutuality, Integration. Co-operation. Collaboration. Parity. Reception. Respect. Curiosity. Wonderment. Love. Awe. Gratitude. Trust, Inclusion, Joy.

Its no longer about matriarchy, patriarchy. It’s about something so new, there is no name for it.

May the falling tree put wonderment into your world. The old way is crashing. The new way is rising. It’s cause for celebration.

I wrote this poem shortly after…


The forest called one day. I stood
at the edge, where light and dark
played together, this boundary
between one world and the next.

This edge possessed a sweet thrill.
the forest darkness contrasting
with the brilliance of the field in which I stood.

This field had been my playground: Daisies
as companions, butterflies whispering
in my ear and the wind, oh the wind.
It rustled my very soul.

Yet these dark woods
with unknown creatures called.
I entered, surprised
to find a luminosity
and new friends.

The toadstools told me stories,
tales of courage and loss. The moss
offered its softness as a bed for my sorrows.

The fallen trees shared their war stories
and the wolves revealed secrets
from before time.

When I wandered back to the sun sheared
field, I knew I’d never see the light the same way.

I knew now, Light was only whole when seen
through the eyes of Darkness.

I saw at once, the perfection
in both the forest and the field.

And laughed. And danced.
As I spun circles of love,
the forest met the field. They nodded
in deep respect, flirted even.

And when I wasn’t looking,
they merged. Just like that.
All at once. And lived happily
ever after.

I won’t say a word about their child
other than this: She has her Forest Mother’s heart
and the eyes of her Father of the Fields.

She is truly not of this world. And yet,
stars stream from her laughter.

Can you hear her laughter?  It’s contagious….

Awareness is here, rising.

Lori Ann2

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18 thoughts on “When a Tree Falls in the Woods, What Rises?

  1. grandfathersky

    Great post. Agreed that a shift is in progress … I read more and more of the presence and renewal of the divine feminine. There is as much symbolism in a day dream as in the night. The Toltec Wisdom is strong and should be taught to all children. Sadly there is another, shall we say sinister, agenda afoot.
    Love the poem.


      1. Jurgen

        What Lori described were currents of energy. When higher consciousness becomes rooted in the physical dimension the energies find new alignments. One way of seeing it is Lori’s awareness of the violent energy channelling the energy into the collapse of an old tree and thereby dispersing it. Lori’s “intervention” (coming from stillness) was an act of healing via diversion. Consciousness doesn’t recognise an “inside” or an “outside” world, only wave functions. You are right, there is no inside world either, only an ocean of interacting waves. When we become the ocean we also become the waves (or the falling tree in this case). I have noticed during out of body states how powerful our energies become.
        I have also noticed that some “teachers” become trapped and entangled with their identification.


  2. Wayne Wirs

    As Davidya says, “When we’re in sync, all of life becomes a synchronicity.” Everyone that I know who is authentically awake says something similar: That synchronistic events increase a thousand-fold upon awaking. How is this possible? What does this pattern imply?

    I can think of only one explanation: The less there is of you, the more there is of a Divine Intelligence, or, as I am fond of saying, Synchronicity implies God.

    This pattern, that synchronistic events increase with awakening, is EVIDENCE of the Divine (I too call God “Her” (though She feels like a lover to me)).

    Problems with a teacher? Disagreements? Pshaw! That tree could have fallen anytime in the 23 million minutes of your life (assuming your 45 years old) and it waited until that exact minute when you needed to see it fall.

    Synchronicity implies God. Everything else is trivial in comparison. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing Lori Ann, it’s a beautiful,memorable story.


  3. Jo Garceau

    Hi, Lori Ann. About a year ago, I got out of my vehicle, adjusted my backpack, picked up my cane, and turned to walk into a restaurant fifty feet away. Suddenly, an angry woman in her fifties, rushed by, screaming, “YOU’RE TAKING UP TOO MUCH SPACE!” I was stunned. The two men who saw the encounter agreed the woman was venting her personal anger and fear which had nothing at all to do with me, other than I had reminded her of something. You’ve proposed a new interpretation. Thanks.


  4. Davidya

    Great story, Lori. And quite the exceptional exclamation point. How many witness a tree surrendering it’s life?
    One little thing I’d clarify in the mentioned paradox.
    The 4 Agreements (actually 5) teach that nothing is personal. It’s a good lesson for the me, the small self. It wants to make everything about me but it never has been.
    For the (big) Self though, everything is personal. But that’s quite different. When we’re in sync, all of life becomes a synchronicity. Life offers us learning and understanding at every turn.

    As Seren questioned in comments, those events may not have the same meaning for someone else. Certainly not for the truck driver. Nor for the other woman. But it’s one of the remarkable things about nature, that she can bring everyone what the need, simultaneously.


    1. Lori Ann Lothian

      Yes! “When we’re in sync, all of life becomes a synchronicity. Life offers us learning and understanding at every turn.” and yes to the distinction between finite and infinite self in relationship to taking things personally.


  5. seren miles

    i really enjoyed your last two posts, but this one…not so sure.

    isn’t this really just about a women who parked her car inconsiderately and through her actions invited an angry reaction from someone. i am not sure what it’s go to do with patriarchy, matriarchy or the four agreements.

    why not just park the car properly in the first place and think how your parking and your actions may affect others…

    this doesn’t have to be a male vs female story…or an ‘anger is bad’ story

    sorry that you fell out with your guru . but that’s the problem with gurus and their followers. they are, after all, just people like you and me.


    1. matemoceguild

      Gurus are people of course. But all the world’s wisdom comes from Gurus, Spiritual Adepts, Tzadiks, whatever you call them. Pythagoris, Socrates, Buddha, Jesus of Nazarus, etc, etc, etc


    2. Lori Ann Lothian

      Yes, this was a departure from my usual content a bit rambling. I have a you tube channel and if you watch a few of my videos there you will get the gist of how I see all happenings as meaningful and message-laden. (On technical note, it was a searing hot day and there are no trees in the parking lot, so the woman had parked under a tree to keep her car cool for her dog…that’s all). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enGTzs6D5N4


  6. matemoceguild

    Hi Lori Ann,
    In this story and in another recent post, you mention your “falling out” with your spiritual teacher. Will you be sharing more of that? Is there a way to speak of that makes sense to you?


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