Go plant a tree

Tree trunkTrees of my life

My father taught me how to plant trees.
Dig a big hole
Carry the tree from the roots
Make sure there is plenty of soft soil around the roots
Give it plenty of water
When you plant the next tree, give it enough room to grow
Keep watering it until it is established
We planted lots of pine trees together.  Over and over. His thoughtful directions, the rhythm of digging holes, placing the trees, filling in the holes moves through me today.

I have planted hundreds of trees.
Everywhere I have lived, I planted trees and shrubs. Thanks to my early experiences with my Dad, they almost all “make it.”

The tiny pine trees we planted together over 40 years ago are huge now.

Plant another tree

For the past few weeks, I have been following these same directions with two tiny tree shoots I purchased from the Arbor Day Foundation.  One red maple, one elderberry.
I remember my dad pointing out elderberry shrubs while we looked for a place to plant a few pine trees.  Elderberry…his mother used to make jam or jelly from them.  I was smaller than the shrub, the berries looked huge – that moment soaked into my cells.

Elderberry seedling

My Elderberry Seedling

There are so many mysteries to this life.

For me, trees, shrubs, plants have been a through line, a place of learning, communion, memory, and joy. Why Elderberry?  I have no idea – but every time I encounter an elderberry, I remember that moment on the side of the hill, near our pond, with my dad.

My tiny elderberry stem came in the mail a month ago – I knew exactly what to do:
Dig a hole, place the roots in soft soil, give it plenty of water.

From a single stem, leaves and branches are sprouting.
Today I breathe a sigh of relief, this one is going to make it!  And so is the red maple
I love being with trees – for no particular reason other than the sensation of joy that I am filled with when I am with them.

Posted in

Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. carla cristina da costa silva on June 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm


    I have the same problem… I cant’ stop planting trees..

    the trees give us so much.


    • Cindy Black on June 4, 2018 at 5:37 pm


  2. Arline on March 31, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Hi Cindy,
    Read your “Plant a Tree” article. Made me smile as well as brought on nostalgic moments. My mom was a gardener. Yes she had us planting trees, shrubs and plants… and she would talk to them as if they were her children. She had the “right time” “right season” “right moon cycle” to plant certain trees, shrubs or plants, even vegetables. She would grab a handful of soil and smell it…. Wow… what a great lady she was.
    Thank you for sending your email and evoking so many good memories.
    Happy Easter!

    • Cindy Black on March 31, 2018 at 9:07 am

      Dear Arline,
      Thank you for sharing these memories. I feel as though I am right there with you and your Mom, smelling the soil, feeling the air, and communing with the wonders of the world.

  3. Cornelia Horne on March 31, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Trees and shrubs are important in my life as well. My grandmother planted an appletree for each grandchild. It always felt special to visit my tree! For the birth of my granddaughter I gave my son an appletree to plant in their garden. I have fruittrees and berrybushes myself and make elderberry jam and elderberry juice (so rich in antioxidants! and Vitamin C) . It gives me a sence of conectiveness and basic peace.
    Thank you for sharing your memories, Cindy

    • Cindy Black on March 31, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Dear Cornelia,
      I love hearing about the appletrees your Grandmother planted – what a beautiful tradition to pass on to your children and grandchildren. Perhaps by sharing it here, it will spread to others as well. I am reminded that our simple acts of kindness and inspiration often go far beyond our “in the moment” actions. Many thanks to your Grandmother for inspiring us all.

  4. Aline on March 30, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you, Cindy, for sharing your beautiful memories with your father. I read somewhere that when we connect with trees & nature, we are actually tapping into our primordial self because we are made up of the same biome as nature (that is why we feel good when we ground ourselves). Hugs

    • Cindy Black on March 30, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      Hi Aline,
      Primordial Self – that feels right, and something I’ll be wondering about now.
      Thanks so much for writing!
      – Cindy

  5. Claudia on March 30, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you Cindy, this is lovely! I have been thinking on planting trees in memory of my parents <3

    • Cindy Black on March 30, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      I love planting trees in memory of family and friends – it is such a comfort.

  6. Sharon on March 30, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you for such a beautiful reflection on your love of trees and the inter-generational impact they have in our lives. You made me remember the many cedar trees I planted with my father to make a hedge.
    I learned today at an ecological event that if every person planted 6 trees we could stop global warming! You are certainly doing your part 😉

    • Cindy Black on March 30, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      I’m happy that you have memories of planting cedar trees with your father too!
      Wow – just 6 trees each, let’s do it!!!!

    • Cindy Black on March 31, 2018 at 9:15 am

      Hi Sharon,
      You are welcome – it is amazing how present these memories are…sometimes they don’t feel like memories.
      I am all in – let’s plant more trees! If add in the two beauty berry bushes, I’m at four today…now to find room for two more 🙂
      – Cindy

  7. Connie on March 30, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you Cindy for writing this. It is beautiful! I love planting trees and all kinds of plants and taking care of them.

    • Cindy Black on March 30, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Yay! Me too!

  8. judy butt on March 30, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Lovely. It’s so you. I’ve been working with the grounds maintenance person here at Galloway and hope to get some new plantings. I miss my old property where so much could be planted.

    • Cindy Black on March 30, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you Judy – I hope you are able to get some new plantings…now is the time!

  9. Leonor on March 30, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Cindy! Thank you for this lovely prose. Feeling blessed by all the trees I have encountered in my life. They are like old wise ones who speak in cycles, decades and groundedness. Their lovely energy and kindness is a gift to all of us if we take the time to notice and learn from them.
    Much love,

    • Cindy Black on March 30, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Dear Leonor,
      Yes, Old Wise Ones indeed – thank you!

  10. […] post Go plant a tree appeared first on Big Tree School of Natural […]

  11. Annie on March 30, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Thank you, Cindy.
    This is just what I needed this morning.
    My love of trees seems boundless yet I’ve never planted one.
    You’ve given me the simple instructions and the inspiration.
    From your dad to you to me…thank you.

    • Cindy Black on March 30, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Trees connect us in so many ways – even here in the digital world!

  12. laura on March 30, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Thank you Cindy. I love hanging with the trees also. your article warmed my soul.

    • Cindy Black on March 30, 2018 at 11:59 am

      So happy to share the love of trees with you!

    • Cindy Black on March 31, 2018 at 9:12 am

      Dear Laura,
      You are welcome – hanging with trees is the best!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.