The Lowest Trees Have Tops

by Soul Places | Diane Ludeking

On my way to Asheville, NC

After the wedding of a dear friend from college this Saturday in Virginia, I found myself driving through the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains toward Asheville, NC.  I was listening to David Whyte’s audio book What to Remember When Waking while my husband and copilot slept in the seat next to me.  Fittingly and completely ‘coincidental,’ David Whyte begins reciting through my headset the poem The Lowest Trees Have Tops by Sir Edward Dyer.

This was the least scary part!

Earlier this week, before the wedding and my newly found love of mountains, I had an interesting dream about climbing trees and hanging out in the canopies of their mighty arms.  I made a mental note of it and then thought nothing of it until today. Ever since that dream, I have been in the treetops.  Yesterday I rappelled and zip lined through the Blue Ridge Mountain range of the Appalachians.  At two hundred feet in the air, on a swaying platform, I realized I am afraid of heights.  Not in a debilitating way, but enough to increase my anxiety the higher we got.  It’s a familiar sensation, never named before.  I thank the sensation for reminding me to be careful and focus on the scenery.

An inexplicable life long fear of bridges rises up to meet me as I am asked to traverse a sky bridge, the first of two.  Between the next zip line and myself is a swaying bit of rope and boards spaced far enough apart to spite me.  When my focus goes from watching where I put my feet to the valley below, I suck in my breath and stop.  As long as I’m stopped I switch my focus again.  To my left is the most magnificent view of autumn colors.  I exhale and move on.

In the middle of one of my zips, suspended hundreds of feet above a valley, I look over my right shoulder and see my shadow flying across the canvas of trees below.  I feel so small in the middle of this mountain range, but not insignificant.  The mountains greet me where I am and continue their journey skyward.  The trees impart their wisdom and beauty, reminding me that it is time to be courageous and fly.

Don't look at the gaps between boards!

What is that look on my face?

The Lowest Trees Have Tops

by Sir Edward Dyer

The lowest trees have tops, the ant her gall,
The fly her spleen, the little spark his heat,
And slender hairs cast shadows though but small,
And bees have stings although they be not great.
Seas have their source, and so have shallow springs,
And love is love in beggars and in kings.
Where waters smoothest run, deep are the fords,
The dial stirs, yet none perceives it move:
The firmest faith is in the fewest words,
The turtles cannot sing, and yet they love,
True hearts have eyes and ears no tongues to speak:
They hear, and see, and sigh, and then they break.

For more breathtaking pictures of my canopy adventure go to Facebook and search ‘sukowatz.’  Look for Canopy Adventure photo album.