August 4, 2016

One Simple Way to Heal the Earth.

Kevin Young/Unsplash

While I was at a meditation and poetry retreat last week, I spent a lot of time looking at the trees in the monastery gardens.

They are beautiful and varied.

Many fruit trees have been planted and nourished. They are returning that nourishment in many forms: new soil for the earth, clean oxygen and screening from wind and dust, shade, and sweet fruit for the sangha.

And when the wind is not making the trees sing, they are quiet and lovely to look at.

There is a simple question we ask ourselves, almost every day: what can I do to hurt the Earth less?

Some people even ask themselves: what can I do to heal the Earth? These are such beautiful, devoted questions.

My answer—plant trees!

What we give, they need. What we need, they give. When we breathe, they breathe. It’s wonderful.

Tips For Planting Your Tree.


If possible, it’s best to plant in fall so your tree will get lots of water initially.

Pick your planting site. Is it hot and sunny or cool and shady? This will help you decide what kind of tree to plant.

Buy a nice little tree from your local nursery. The people at the nursery will be able to help you pick out a tree that will grow well in the site you’ve chosen. Or, ask if they have a tree they were planning to recycle that you can save. Or rescue a tree from a construction site or from a garden remodel.

How to plant a tree:

Look at the roots. If they’re growing in a circle, straighten them out, or cut them a little bit until they’re straight.

Dig a nice, big hole.

Locate what’s called the “root flare” which is where the first major roots extend from the tree trunk. Make sure you don’t bury the root flare. It should be above the soil when you’re finished.

Place the tree in the hole.

Put the dirt back in the hole.

Put a few inches of mulch around the base of tree. Old leaves, bits of stick and bark and other stuff like that will do. This helps feed the growing tree.

Water your new tree right after planting it.This calms and soothes the roots and helps your tree get used to its new life.

Admire your effort. You’ve just done something to help heal the earth! And you have a new friend.


6 Suggestions on how to Reconnect with Nature.


Author: Elizabeth Myhr 

Image:Unsplash/Kevin Young

Apprentice Editor: Sarah Gilbert/Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

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Elizabeth Myhr

Elizabeth Myhr grew up in Seattle, Washington, and spent her childhood weekends in the fields, forests, mountains and islands of the Pacific Northwest. She was not a writer as a child, but a jazz pianist. Though she thought about becoming a field biologist, she completed her undergraduate work in English and began teaching herself to write poetry after graduating from college.
In 2010 Elizabeth co-founded Calypso Editions, a virtual, cooperative press that specializes in literature in translation and emerging writers.

In 2011 Elizabeth published her first book of poetry, The Vanishings & Other Poems. In 2012 she published her first chapbook of poetry, The Dictator’s Mistress.
Elizabeth continues to live, work and practice in the Zen and Tibetan traditions in Seattle.