Hi everyone, this is James, Sarah’s guide. I am a nature spirit who has never incarnated on Earth. I am in the unique position of knowing this Earth intimately without ever having taken a physical form here.

I am friends with the trees, and I speak to them daily. They are hurting, straining under the weight of human-made pollution and destruction. Yet they are resilient.

On this morning, I would like you to contemplate what it is like to be a human in communion with the natural world around you. Do you respect plants as you do people? Plants have souls. They have deep wisdom in their roots. They have elders, just as you do, and they respect their elders for their lived experience and the wisdom they pass down to their communities.

Plants have much to teach you, if you listen closely. They are the master teachers of the planet. Everything you need to know—everything that’s worth teaching anybody—can be summed up by the beauty of a seedling bursting through the earth.

All that it took for the seedling to get to that point—the Sun, the Moon, the soil, the water, its neighbors and parents and the local community around it—all had to align in a perfect sequence of events to get that seedling to poke its little head through the earth. Everyone working together conspired to help that seed—an idea of a tree—realize its potential. And its potential is to exist. Nothing more; nothing less.

This month, I recommend that you take time to commune with nature whenever you can safely do so. This is, unfortunately, fire season here in California, and I fear for the response—that may be too late—to a build-up of mismanaged fire debt in this state: for years, the stewards of these forests have ignored Indigenous wisdom that distinguishes between good fire and bad fire—controlled fire that is meant to burn through old debris and fallen bodies of trees, versus fire which rages unchecked through wide swaths of land, killing elder trees and younglings alike.

At the risk of sounding like Smokey Bear (“only YOU can prevent forest fires!”) I urge you to move with caution through dry forested land, and I encourage you to cultivate a connection with the land and with the trees on this land, even if you live in an area where you’re at risk of losing your new (tree) friends. Do not let the sadness of climate change cut you off from cultivating these deep connections, as an emotionally self-protective coping mechanism. The deeper the emotional ties, the more this tide will turn.

Wishing you a safe and loving August,

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