This week I was able to spend a little time outside during the early dawn hours. I enjoy and savor the quietness of the mornings. I can rest in the soft melodies of the birds, the scurry of the squirrels, the wind, the leaves, clouds just becoming visible, adrift in the sky. My inner dialogue and the world’s still in an easeful slumber. Lately, I often pause in awe of the trees. The Grace with which they meet the seasons of their life. They are a vision of exquisite surrender, not resisting the wind, the sun, nor the rain; simply rooted, their leaves falling and returning every spring. And if it was meant that they were to be completely uprooted, then that too is included.
This morning my attention began to settle a little lower. The earth beneath the trees and the beauty in this. I could feel the earth holding all of these trees through the seasons of their existence. The earth does not seem to have an agenda, not fixing nor changing. It just holds what is.
My attention settles a little closer to home, to the terrain of life within me. Was the earth not holding me through the seasons of life just as she holds the trees? Is she not holding all of Life, at all times? Here, no experience and no one is more or less worthy. For a while, I rest in this open embrace, just the experience itself. After a few minutes I walk back inside, remembering Mary Oliver’s poem.
When I Am Among the Trees
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”