Consider this...

By Mike Johnson


The tree had been waiting for me for more than six decades.

In Wyoming's semi-arid climate, fully grown trees are rare indeed. Because they break the relentless winds and provide shade and solitude, most real estate purchasers begin their search with trees high on the want list. Yet, because trees take so long to grow and need so much water -- a valuable commodity in the American west -- a house with large trees generally means a very old property -- and a very old house. Since most home buyers are looking for newer homes, they're forced to settle for treeless properties.

We rented the 65-year-old farmhouse four months ago for its location -- and for it's trees. The 50-foot cottonwoods have many similarities to the more familiar oak, including the knarled bark and seven-foot diameter trunks that sprout into three or four main trunks about six feet off the ground, making them perfect climbing trees.

Surrounded by nine of these giants, our homestead exudes a quiet opulence to those who have the eyes to see. Nevertheless, I'd managed to avoid climbing them for 120 days.

Until Father's Day.

It was the typical lazy Sunday morning, curled in the rocker reading the Sunday newspaper while nursing coffee and toast. Nowhere to go, nothing pressing to do, the rhythm of my soul soon slowed to match the rhythm of the day. Seated by the front yard window, I could watch the robin working her nest, admire snowcapped Carter Mountain and follow the lines of tree-filtered sunlight as it danced across the lawn, reminding me it was time to mow.

Since I enjoy cutting grass -- and the smell and look of a freshly manicured lawn -- the chore was completed within the hour. As a boy, freshly cut lawns were always for baseball, bar-b-cueing and -- and tree climbing.

So before I gave it much thought, I discovered myself sitting six feet off the ground in the best reading spot I've found in 30 years -- one of those trees.

Funny how such a small change in altitude made life more pleasant. The breeze was cooler. The sun was shaded. The view was better. And because I was out of the normal line of vision, I was virtually invisible to passing neighbors. I calmly surveyed their hectic comings and goings while those rushing off were oblivious to the peaceful location I had found.

Higher consciousness is just like this. We retain all the knowledge we had from the lower level yet gain the inner peace that comes with the attainment of the higher mental altitude. Because of this peace, we can safely watch the craziness of others without being sucked into their dramas. Our altitude not only provides a clear view of approaching trouble -- but the knowledge that nothing can harm us as long as we remain peacefully detached.

I spent a couple blissful hours up in that tree that day and the man that climbed down would never be quite the same. I knew I'd return often -- and change just as frequently.


Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at