Suzanne Ragan Lentz

luminary for emergence

Raised by trees

I was born in the heart of Baltimore Maryland at Johns Hopkins Hospital and went to live with my parents on Tyson Street in a three-story brick 1800s row house.

My parents were upwardly mobile and obviously saving for a house as we moved within the year to a stone home bordered by trees – a greenbelt in Towson, a bedroom community outside of Baltimore. There were crab apple trees that lined one side of the street and tall trees that acted as a buffer between neighbors.

Raccoons would visit at night. Goldfish were stocked every Spring in a raised fountain/pond. Our St. Bernard, Heidi, was my daily companion. There was a cheese and veggie co-op run out of the garage. A family with eight kids and a VW Vanagon lived up the street. My brother was born. Heidi had ten puppies. All this occurred within the sanctuary of those trees.

Four years later, we moved further still from the city, to rural Maryland where my brother and I would spend the day in the woods, exploring the stream and traversing it over fallen trunks. Catching minnows, being spooked by the long abandoned shack and old cars that I could not grasp how they got there in the middle of the woods… surrounded by trees. Discovering hot springs during a snow fall on the way to a neighbor’s house and for forever those trees, looming overhead, quietly watching, taking care that we were safe.

Last winter, my husband and I started walking Discovery Park in Seattle Washington or as the Japanese call it taking “tree baths”.  The tree varieties are different but still deciduous – and they ground me. Envelop me with their sense of calm and quiet caring; their peace; their energy. Rooted. Confirmed. Alive.

Their existence harkens back to all the trees before them — of spirits, souls, animals, peoples that have occupied this space, this land.


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