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Posted August 8, 2013

Book: Cradle Me: A Tribute to Trees
Author: Diane S. Cattrell
Balboa Press. Bloomington, IN. 2013. Pp. 88

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Cradle Me --- A Tribute to Trees is a memoir. It is also a reverent reflection and an expression of gratitude for the protective and spiritual nature of trees. The author visits childhood and adult experiences, including death, divorce, and disease, exploring how life offers as opportunities to grow through these moments. Connected through her affinity with trees, Cattrell's words will take you literally into the woods and back to your own remembrances of play, fear, insecurity, accomplishments, loss, and love.

An Excerpt from the Book:

I wasn't consciously praying, or perhaps I was. Mother Teresa said, "Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at his disposition, and listening to his voice in the depths of our hearts." In the company of the giant cedars, I was peaceful and open to the experience of the trees. I felt whole, holy, resting in God.

The cedars invited a solitary experience. I walked the well-worn trails with two friends, Odessa and Jane, spending over three hours on paths we could have traveled in twenty minutes. Together, we were alone. In our silence I heard the whispered worship of the cedars.

What caused this private contemplation? Why did a simple outing with friends turn into a moment for meditation? The American poet, Wallace Stevens, wrote in his journal in 1902: "An old argument with me is that the true religion force in the world is not the church, but the world itself . . . In the shadows of the church I could hear the prayers of men and women; in the shadows of the trees nothing human mingled with Divinity . . .as I went tramping through the fields and woods I beheld every leaf and blade of grass revealing or rather betokening the Invisible."

In the presence of the cedars, I felt that Invisible. Introspection and an intuitive adoration, with only minimal and subdued conversation, was the natural response. Reverence surrounded us and we entered into it with the trees. Their height drew my sight and heart towards heaven; the sparkling diamonds of light through their canopy placed me in a cathedral just as surely as light through stain glass. Connected through the constant praise of those giant cedars, I became part of their worship; I too became a living prayer.

Looking back on my life, I now know in the company of trees, the feeling of that Invisible has always been with me.

Table of Contents:

1. Living prayers

2. Transplanting

3. An early acquaintance

4. Words in the woods

5. Heart wood

6. Seeds planted

7. The matriarch

8. Red-bronze leaves

9. Iconic trees

10. The perfect Christmas tree

11. Forestial heaven

12. Cradled in golden willows

Afterword The Next Chapter