Story of the Bear Spirit Tree

by | Honoring Animal Spirit

Bear is one of my totem animals. So, because of my resonant connection to that protective, grounded, community energy – bear images are among the most prolific images I see when I am on a nature spirit photo outing.

This Burr Oak bear stands guard along a footpath that looks out over a river valley. St. Charles, IL

For over twelve years I enjoyed visiting with a bear spirit who was also a nodal tree and lived along the riverbank at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve, Illinois. I’ve photographed him in all seasons and as the topography changed with seasonal flooding and the ageing and dying of other trees.

Bear Spirit in Winter

Saying Goodbye

The past few years I knew this beautiful tree’s time was close at hand. The steep sand cliff kept eroding under his roots with each spring flood season.

Guardian of the Valley

However, after sitting with the situation for awhile, I understood that this was the tree that would be taking the bear tree’s place as the nodal lynch pin.

The bear tree was aligned with this necessity, happy his female companion would continue to have help with her own work in the grid, and was accepting of his eventual return to spirit – and whatever would be his next round of earth play.

The Transition is Complete

I couldn’t stand seeing this slow death of a loved one and stayed away from visiting the tree one full year. When I finally returned, in early spring, I found the tree had finally transitioned. Floods had undermined the roots and the mighty tree now lay fully across the stream far below.

Far from being a sad scene, it felt happy – the tree spirit had gone on and would return at some point in a younger version of some type of life form. The tree itself was still occupied by spirits – a variety of beings who were making the mighty tree their home.  A few years after that, I took these photos. The tree is now serving as a bridge for small animals between the two river shores he had always overseen. And looking up at us, from the tree, is a wooden heart.

I Will Always Love You

A Bridge Across the Watters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are images of the female companion tree.

Female Companion to Bear

Female bear

 

 

 

 

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