The young executive was completely exhausted, with dark circles under his eyes, trying to keep his business afloat while keeping his creditors at bay. Every day he worked 12 hours or more, as well as burning the midnight oil, but it still wasn’t enough. He could feel his company sinking as his own energy waned and vanished. His best friend (at least he had one!) said, “You need a break. You’ve got to get out of the office, leave the city. Try to find a place in the country with a cool grove of birch trees.”
“Why on earth should I seek a place with birch trees?” our young business hero questioned. “You need to get your mojo back, and the birches will bring you refreshment, and of course regenerative effects. And besides, birch bark has been used for centuries by the Native Americans, among others, to make containers, hunting and fishing gear, and even children’s toys,” replied his pal.
The businessman remembered well that the last refreshment he had was some wicked whiskey with a demanding client that had only left him with another problem to resolve and a splitting headache the next day on top of it all. After driving several hours on a winding country road, he came across a pristine grove of birch trees just as his only friend described. As he walked among them, he heard the gentle breeze blowing in the dark green leaves, and the glowing white trunks of the birch trees tickled his eyes.
Under one shady birch sat an elderly female artist with flowing white hair, painting a vivid canvas. She spoke softly, “Are you interested in good art? Would you like to see my spring color palette?” Brilliant shades of color sprung from the painting, and the man gasped as he witnessed the lush shades of green, the dazzling yellow tones, and even fuschia that the artist had skillfully mixed on her palette. “In truth, I can’t tell you my age,” continued the artist, “but I’ve been returning to paint in this birch grove for at least a hundred years. Did you know that birch trees symbolize rebirth after death, and immortality?”
The young man responded, “I don’t really need to be immortal if I can just get to the end of the month without too many more bills to pay and no more customer complaints!” Suddenly, a flock of small chirping birds descended with a special drink which they left expertly on a flat rock under one of the birches. “Drink this special potion, and you can return to the city brimming with energy,” said the wise artist. “And maybe you’ll even come back again with some friends and buy one or two of my paintings!”
The drink was cool and perfectly refreshing on the man’s lips, and immediately he felt a pleasing cloud of drowsiness descending on him. He couldn’t help but smile, and he even recalled a fiery discussion he’d had with the company president only a week ago that now seemed humorous in hindsight. He lay down in the thick grass that grew abundantly under the birch grove, and the late afternoon sun danced on his face as he closed his eyes.
He dreamed he was flying far above a massive cityscape and could see people rushing hither and thither below as if in a panic. High in the sky, there was no such nervousness as swallows soared around him, and motioned with their pointed wings for him to follow. He could feel the great passage of time, and a calmness that he last remembered feeling when he was only a kid sitting by his grandmother’s side as she slowly read him a scintillating story of a faraway land.
When he finally woke, he sensed the birch trees still around him, but the day was much later with mottled sunlight illuminating hundreds of exquisite spring colors. The artist was long gone, but he could clearly recall the pretty palette she had shown him. He felt his muscles rippling with regeneration. He picked up a piece of birch bark lying next to him. Later, safely back in the city, his friend remarked, “You look like you just signed a million-dollar contract! What’s up?” The young man quipped, “Can you join me for a cup of birch tea a little later?”
Ancient secrets of nature unlocked
A weekend by the sea
The Golden Mountain