Outside my window this morning, I noticed a little bird pecking on the ground where I had raked some leaves, revealing some green grass and–more importantly–soft soil. A small effort on my part made it a bit easier for another creature to find sustenance in a season where most animals have to work harder to find food, especially if they haven’t been able to put away any stores. A few moments later, a squirrel found a prized acorn and used a bench as a table, leaving its crumbs before scurrying away. Closer to the golf course, two squirrels raced up and around tree trunks and through the leaves in a game of chase, it seemed to me. To them I suppose it could have been a fight for territory, if squirrels even do such a thing. The crows caw near and far, louder than the softer, higher chirps of smaller birds. I hear something scurry on the roof. Suddenly I get a sense of how still I am in comparison to the busy-ness and activity of the world around me. In my quiet observation, I can hear the other creatures going about their business as they should. Distraction pulls me away to my own activity, and I lose sight of the creatures and no longer hear their calls.
All the rain we’ve been having reminds us that we are, indeed, in the midst of spring. And the bounty of greenery, in all its shades and hues, contrasts nicely, magically against the gray skies. I had wondered what this spring would look like after the tragic ice storm left many of the trees amputees. I admit my shallow underestimation of nature.
Yes, you can see some of the splintered edges or the awkward, haphazard trimmings. But the trees continue to stand as tall as they can and put forth new growth with as much determination as ever. Where the trees were trimmed carefully, with attention, you would hardly notice anything amiss, save for the less dense canopy. The new growth is amazing.
I might say, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be a tree, where all we had to do is grow, go through the seasons, letting go and growing when it’s our determined time.” But that’s not all a tree does. No two trees are exactly alike. No breeze blows without ruffling each leaf in its own way. Every natural event leaves its mark upon a tree’s trunk, but the tree is ever adapting. Maybe I should say, “Oh, to have the wisdom of a tree.”
When I was a little girl, I remember going into the woods beyond the pasture of my grandparents farm. I found a young maple that I sat beside and talked to at length, looking up into its branches, certain that the leaves blowing in the wind were responding just to me. I promised to be this tree’s friend. I found a large-ish rock and put it beside the base, so I would be sure to remember which tree I had chosen.
Time passed, though, and when I returned, I wasn’t sure which tree was which. There were rocks all around. I felt bad. I had defaulted on a friendship, and I was sure that this tree would certainly remember who I was, was probably watching me circle around and around, aching that I couldn’t hear and feel.
Maybe I had read The Giving Tree too many times. Maybe I was personifying the tree too much. But I don’t think so. Even now, when I need to be grounded, I see myself as a tree. When I need to disperse extra energy or receive it, I can exchange with the trees. I’ve not forgotten the relationship one can have with the trees, and I have a special place in my heart for maples.
The trees are beautiful and have much to teach us.
Life has a way of providing opportunities for us, opening a window or a door here and there. We always have a choice of whether or not to follow the lead.
This past week was spring break for my kids, and in many ways, it was a spring break for me, too. We didn’t go anywhere fancy. I didn’t clean my house inside and out. I really did nothing incredibly productive or fascinating, but I lived into every moment.
And spring, my friends, is a wonderful time to be aware. The birds sing loudly, the daffodils and tree and shrub blossoms are giving their all, and the shades of green right now are enviable in their vitality. The equinox brought us a gentle thunderstorm as our lullaby.
“Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head
with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”
— Langston Hughes
Perhaps you went away for spring break or have busy plans; maybe you’re kids are just now in their break. My wish for you is that wherever you are, you’re enjoying yourself, making the time to be fully aware and present.
“See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence . . . .
We need silence to be able to touch souls.” — Mother Teresa
Quotes found in my “Day Book,” The Poetry of Nature 2009 Calendar by Jean Lowe and Greg Johnson — my first splurge for ’09. It’s Spring, and I’m truly grateful to hear the resonating gratitude felt throughout humanity in the heartfelt quotes from beautiful people.
Spring awakens my senses, surging through my veins a desire to grow towards the sun, all the while digging my fingers deeper into the soil. ‘Tis the season when the blossoming, growth and fertility all around us reflects the same within most of us, and it is a wonderful time to be alive.
Thinking of all the beauty around me, from rich earth to new green to smiling children, as I look out the door, a web of worms grows on our aging cherry tree. The dialogue ensues. This is a reflection of the beauty of nature, likening that to our own true selves. Ugly worms don’t belong here.
Ah, maybe that’s why they’re in my line of sight today.
Left to its own devices, our earth has its own system of checks and balances. There is no third party evaluation to discuss the ethics, and the consequences are known, precipitating the action. Nature lives in balance
However, we as humans have the unique gift of free will. We get to choose our way and find our own balance. Where have your choices led you? Where you are now, is all thriving? Is there balance? Or do you need a disaster to restore you closer to where you should be?
We receive signs, if we pay attention. We receive assurance. Like it or not, we are part of this “nature” around us, and I feel that if we pay attention to it, Nature will offer suggestions on how we should live, maybe even how we can make improvements.
The worms outside. I will have to cut off that part of the branch and kill the worms to keep them from spreading before they outgrow their current nest of sorts, if they haven’t already. I don’t like having to do that. I apologize to the plants as I prune them back and wish insects light and love and a good next life before I squish them, apologizing after. But I do what I feel I must to keep a balance, prevent an infestation that could further destroy the good thing I hope I have going.
Our cherry tree is on its last leg. Already I’ve chosen a couple of its off-shoots to grow in its place, several feet away from the original tree. Eventually we’ll have to cut down the beauty to allow room for the new trees. I suppose it’s not unlike our love for our children. We can’t live forever, overshadowing them. It’s best that our ego takes back seat if not disappears so that our children can grow in their own light and live the lives they were brought here to live.
It is all an intricate balance, a web of life, not without death. Verily, there is neither beauty nor disgust; there is just what is, and that whole is . . . just is. I want to say it’s beautiful, but that would be me adding that which is excessive, tipping the scale.
I should take these lessons and practice them, mull them over and throughout, evaluating my own environment, removing what needs to be removed, nurturing what nourishes the whole.
Happy gardening to you, and may the music of spring sing in your soul.