“Hi. I’m Terra. I talk to plants.”

I never thought I would ever introduce myself that way, but, there I was, with my three friends and six Dutch social anthropologists, in an open topped tour truck, about to see the white lions of Timbavati.

It’s taken years of practice, but, I’m finally comfortable sharing my intuitive method for gardening. I’ve come out of the potting shed, so to speak, as a plant communicator.

As our tracker brought us closer to the lions, my scientist neighbor was genuinely interested in what I had just said. “Well, this is amazing, because my coworker in the back of the truck here is actually studying people who are plant communicators. Maybe we can follow up with you?”

“Sure,” I said, amazed that I was actually having this conversation and getting closer and closer to meeting lions.  

“What’s it like? What do they say?” he asked.

“Well, if I get quiet and centered, it’s easier to listen. It’s subtle, but when I’m planning a garden, I ask to speak to the deva of the garden or plant, and they will ‘tell’ me where they want to go. If I come to troubleshoot a problem in a garden, a tree or a group of plants will ‘tell’ me what care might be offered to help support the balance of the garden.”

“What does it sound like? Can you describe it?” The truck made another turn on the bumpy track. 

I had never before considered describing what it “sounds like” when you’re a plant communicator asking for guidance.  

It was a good question! I needed a moment to think about it.

“It depends a great deal on the plant, but if you remember how Tolkien’s Ents from Lord of the Rings spoke very slowly and sometimes in a roundabout way, I would say that trees prefer that kind of conversation, but if you talk to a flower, they transmit information very quickly.” 

Right as I finished those words, I felt something above my sternum, something opening. It was unfamiliar, but all of my senses were suddenly on alert. Was I sensing the lions? The feeling was coming from the right. Sure enough, the driver was turning right.

Oh my gosh. I’m going to see white lions! I thought to myself, and then, suddenly, OH MY GOSH I am in an uncovered pickup truck about to see lions!  

The scientist next to me had raised questions I really wanted to answer: How did I, as a plant communicator, really know what the plants were saying?  

It felt like an intuitive whirlpool of sensation to have this conversation while simultaneously investigating this funny feeling at the top of my breast bone. I realized the sensations coming up in my body around the presence of lions was very similar to what I experienced communicating with plant life. Plants, however, never gave me this “high alert” feeling throughout my body. 

The driver suddenly killed the engine and it was dead quiet. A lioness trotted right in front of the truck with something in her mouth. I was doing my best to stay calm, breathe and not stare her in the eyes. And then, in the bushes on the left, came a loud growl and everyone in the truck looked at each other.  

I thought, Oh my gosh, what is happening? Were my last moments in Africa going to come to this horrible end? I looked at the driver. He was perfectly calm.

As if he was reading my mind, the driver said to us, “They just had a kill. They’re just arguing a little bit about who gets which pieces of meat. Looks like it was a small zebra, so they’re going to have to share.”

Well that helped me calm down a little.  

I could imagine my own two kids squabbling over who was going to get the last cookies until we could make some more; the lions were doing the same. Cool. Even though I could grasp the idea that they had no interest in us, I swear they were a little annoyed that we were watching them having their dinner.

We stayed for a half hour and as politely as we could, watched the beautiful scene of a lion pride sharing a meal. It was a sacred moment for me and I tried to behave with reverence.

As we left the scene, I returned to the question: How does it feel when plants speak?  Was I “hearing” the lions speak to me just then or was it all in my mind?

I decided to use the technique I practice when I connect to plants. I asked to be connected to the deva of the white lions. Using kinesiology, I asked, “Was that feeling in my chest a communication from the lions?” Using my thumb and pinky finger of the left hand to make a circle, I used my thumb and forefinger to try and break the connection. I couldn’t. This muscle test helped me determine the answer was affirmative. They were “talking” to me, letting me know they were near.

My new friend was watching me do this muscle testing technique. “Where did you learn that?” my Dutch neighbor asked.

“Perelandra, developed by Machaelle Small Wright. I studied her work for a number of years when I got started in gardening. That’s really what helped me realize I could communicate with plants. I didn’t always hear the plants. It started as a feeling.”  

He nodded, as if this was the most natural thing to say in a normal conversation. I nodded, as if it were somehow perfectly natural that I had just “heard” a pride of lions. 

This whole experience made me wonder how many of us can “hear,” communicate with the earth, or how many of us are experiencing this connection.  

If more and more of us are listening, then we will see humans behave differently, and maybe a little more respectfully, towards nature.

I invite you to find some quiet time, listen to the plants and animals around you. Ask them what their message to you is. You may be pleased and pleasantly surprised by what you can hear. That’s right! YOU can communicate with plants, too!