Ocean Song

Ocean Song

Just breathe.
Just breathe.
Listen.
And breathe.

The ocean and the sky
Touch.
Kiss.
Love.
To sing a song of healing
over you.

To sing.
Over humanity.
Healing waves
of Mercy.
Love.

The ocean is wise,
understanding
of human folly,
foolishness,
selfishness,
sin.
The ocean will heal us
if we let her.

But we must also
heal her.
We have polluted her patience,
treaded on her tenderness,
broken her bravery.

The whales,
keepers of the deep Mystery,
weep salty tears
over us.
Do we hear their cry?

When will we listen?
To the ocean?
To the whales?
To the song of time?

When will we breathe
and understand
healing
mercy?

Or will we let time
run out
on our planet?

Listen.
And breathe.

 

 

Image Credits: Pok_Rie.

Cloud Eyes

Cloud Eyes

Depression falls around me.
A streaming cascade of gray droplets clouding my eyes.

How will the mist rise
                                up
from the valley of hardship
and wisdom?

Clouds hide behind white orbs
and green crysalides.
My eyes
      wait
for wings of spirit
to fly
with clear sight
of heaven and earth.

Cataracts,
Surgery,
the Doctor says.
Thick black glasses
                    perching
on his white hawk nose.
Thin black pen
                    opinionating
on the white chart paper.
Slim black hand
                    ticking
on the white clock. read more

Spring and the Sparrow

Spring and the Sparrow

Spring is here in Minnesota. The mountains of white snow are melting into brown puddles of mush, splashed by passing cars. Brave green grass pushes through the litter of brown leaves left buried by autumn snow. Birds chirp in the trees, and I even heard a few early frogs singing their spring tune. Signs of new life surround me, so welcome after this cold, challenging winter.

Is it spring in your life, too, friend? Whatever challenges you have been facing, you can look forward to a spring of healing. Spread your arms and your heart wide open like a child dancing shameless in the light, or a flower reaching toward the warmth and life of the sun. Like a sparrow starting a new life.

Let me tell you a story.

* * *

Three cracks.

Three large cracks created a delicate spider web pattern over a white egg speckled with brown. The mother sparrow fluffed her wing over the egg and sang a low, soft song, “Hurry up, my Iittle one. Hurry up and come out.”

Four other little chicks crowded each other around the nest. They opened their orange beaks, far too large for their small, naked bodies, wide for food. Their loud chirping broke the silence of the cool spring morning. The mother bird pushed the last egg further from their pushing, bobbing heads.

“Have patience little ones. Have patience. Your sister is still coming.”

Another crack broke the egg. Then a small, black beak pushed its way through the hole.

“Come on out, Peasy. You can do it.” The mother bird touched her beak to the baby’s beak.

With one final push and crack, Peasy tumbled out of her egg. Even though her eyes were closed, she turned her head toward the light of the golden sun. She snuggled close to her mother’s warm feathers as she wondered at the new world she found outside this egg. Would it be like the dreams of her long sleep in the safety of her shell?

The young spring passed by in a flurry of eating and growing. Peasy’s father and mother took turns finding food and keeping their five babies warm. Peasy’s brothers and sisters made noise all day long.

“Give me the big worm!”

“Look at my new feathers! They are the softest and most beautiful in the world!”

“Look at my big, strong feet. I’ll be able to climb higher in the trees than anyone else!”

They bickered and grew fat and crowded the nest as they looked over the edge to the ground far below.

All but Peasy. She didn’t care about eating the biggest worms or having the most beautiful feathers. She loved to stare at the sky all day, watching the clouds change shape in the gentle breezes. When the clouds turned gray and opened into silver rain, Peasy opened her beak to drink in Mother Earth’s blessings while her brothers and sisters fussed over their damp feathers. It was true that the other baby sparrows were growing in beauty, while Peasy remained small and plain, but she grew in Wisdom, in understanding earth’s deep mysteries.

Peasy started each morning by chirping with the flowers that sprang up in the cheerful sunshine.

“Good morning daffodil! Good morning violet and daisy and pansy!”

“Good morning, Peasy,” they sang back. “It’s a beautiful morning! We love the darkened clouds and rain, we love the bright or dappled sun. Under the Creator’s generous bounty, we all live and love as One.”

The spring rains changed into long days of warm summer sun. The trees stretched their branches toward the sky, soaking in the light and growing strong.

“Enjoy the energy and life of summer,” the old oak tree would tell Peasy. “Grow strong, little one, for the days wiIl not be long forever. The Creator has given us our days of work and play, but also our days of rest. There are many seasons in the great cycle of life. Soon the time of darkness and rest will come.”

One hot summer afternoon, the mother bird came to the nest with a huge brown worm. “Eat up, my dears. You need energy. Today you are going to learn to fly!”

The young birds  jumped from the nest one by one. They hopped in the grass and flapped their wings, excited as they lifted their bodies a few inches off the ground.

Their father went out to look for more food. Their mother kept watch nearby, but the heat of the hazy humid afternoon, and the exhaustion of raising her brood, lulled her into sleepiness. The young sparrows kept up their constant chatter.

“Look at me! I’m so big and strong!”

“I will be the most beautiful bird flying in the whole sky!”

“I will fly so fast that no one will be able to keep up with me!”

As their proud boasts rang through the sky, a red hawk lighted into a nearby tree, watching their attempts with amusement. “Hmm, one of those foolish birds would make a nice snack.”

The trees rustled their leaves as loudly as they could in warning. The young birds kept up their games, not noticing the trees or anything else outside themselves as usual.

Peasy was busy talking to a small green caterpillar. “I’m so plain, so slow, so ugly,” he whispered and shook his whiskered head. “What purpose do I serve in this world?”

“Every Creature, no matter how big or small, plain or spectacular, has a place on the earth. The Creator takes joy in all of us.” Peasy looked up at the sky. “Besides,” she said, eyes bright. “Have you ever seen a butterfly?”

Just then she noticed the rustling of the trees. “Danger, danger,” she felt their silent shouts.

She looked up just in time to see the hawk swoop down from the tree, sharp claws pointed right at her siblings. Peasy ran and spread her wings in protection over her sister. The hawk caught  Peasy’s wing with his talon.

Just then thunder roared in the sky, the flash summer thunderstorm drowning out the hawk’s shriek. The clouds darkened the sky and poured humid rain as the hawk flew away to shelter.

The young birds huddled together at the base of a tree, too wet and too scared to attempt a flight back up to their nest. They put their bodies around Peasy, her wing hanging malshaped and useless at her side. They were shaking.

“Peasy, I’m sorry.”

“Peasy, are you ok?”

The thunder and commotion woke up their mother and she ran over to her brood. “Peasy, Peasy, my little baby,” she cried.

She snuggled Peasy under her soft wings and Peasy fell into a pained sleep, dreaming of hawks, danger, coldness, and cruelty in a dark world. She dreamed of ego and pain washed away, and the world restored to beauty and healing  in a great flood of tears of the Creator.

Summer sun gave way to a cascade of colorful fall leaves. All of Peasy’s brothers and sisters could fly and they went off all day, exploring the sky and searching for food. Peasy’s wing hung at a sharp angle from her body, useless for flight. But as she gazed up at the clouds she could hear the whispers of the Creator. “I love you Peasy. I see your pain, and I see your sacrifice. Take joy, little one, I sent you to earth for love and you are doing a great job.”

Peasy marveled as the flowers changed around her. The dandelion heads grew furry and then bald as the wind blew their seeds to wait in the earth for the next spring.

The sunflower grew tall and its petals surrounded a new globe of black and white seeds. She said, “Peasy, I give you my seeds. Save them for a dark day.”

“Thank you, Ms. Sunflower.” Peasy gathered the seeds that fell to the ground. She found a small hole in the old oak tree where she stored the seeds.

Peasy also found a safe refuge from the cold in that oak tree as the icy hands of winter shook the leaves off the trees and cast a white blanket on the ground. Food grew scare. Peasy shared her seeds with her family. When those ran low, the sparrows began to panic. But Peasy knew that even in the snowiest, darkest winter the Father would provide.

One morning Peasy found worms in the hole. The oak shivered and sighed in the cold wind.

“Are you ok, Mr. Tree?” Peasy chirped.

“Yes, Peasy, my days have been long and my body grows old. My spirit is ready to fly and be free.”

Peasy bowed her head in reverence and sadness.

“Peasy, don’t be troubled. The all-wise Creator has created this cycle of life and rebirth for all. There is joy to be found in even the darkest of realms, but I have lived my fullness and I am ready to see the kingdom.”

The tree breathed out his spirit and Peasy was filled with a strange warmth. ”Thank you, great teacher. I’ll see you again someday, ” she whispered.

The worms multiplied and kept Peasy and her family fed until the spring sun dawned once again on a new crop of life.

***

Has the cruelty of the world broken your wings and dreams? Just remember that no matter how long the winter seems to drag on, no matter the pain and heartache of this realm, spring’s sun is only a breath away, and the Creator always holds you in loving hands.

Matthew 10:29-31
New International Version (NIV)
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

The Empty Room

Photo used freely, courtesy of iprole on sxc.hu
Photo used freely, courtesy of iprole on sxc.hu

I just quit my day job at the preschool where I have worked for the last year. The situation became very suffocating, and I have better opportunities ahead of me. Here are my feelings.

The Empty Room

I look upon the empty room,
A room exhaling silence
             memories
             of child voices

The room sees
Eyes pour over lesson plans.
All the educational demands.
A told B and B told C
about the spontaneous ecstasy,
the momentary lessons be
of childhood wonder.

The room measures
Tick-tock hours measured by
laughs and tears and fears and smiles.
Days that measure, dress themselves
in colors of artwork upon the shelves
in water play in yellow sun
in raking red-gold leaves that run
with tiny footprints in the white.

The room sighs
Teachers silenced by harsh demands.
Take the pain upon their hands.
Fix the room, scream the theme
do the project, the curriculum means
but don’t you dare stay on the scene
just a minute late.

The room cries
Children sob the rules they dread.
Don’t make a mess, stay on your bed,
don’t put that bucket on your head,
too much noise behind the door,
be always ready for the Tour.

The room hurts
Teachers broken under stress
contradicting rules, duress.
Mental wounds leak out their bodies
while trying, trying, trying hardly
able to do it all and not get hurt
again.

The room suffocates
I. Can’t. Breathe.

The walls of the room come closing in,
exhaling sickness, a volcano explosion.
Struggling to inhale the stale air,
the room echoes the silent terror.

The room dies
I. Quit.

Two words fill the empty room
I turn my back, I leave alone.
I must hide all the memories saved
to bury them in my mind’s grave.
I leave the room to the hands of God.
And breathe a prayer for my beloved
children.

I think upon the empty preschool room,
A room exhaling silence
             memories
             of voices of pain
             spiritual death

Victims, and Victory Through Perception

Victims, and Victory Through Perception

The snow falls around me,
snowflakes kissing my lashes,
tickling my nose.

I stick out my tongue
to taste the cool wetness on my lips,
and I remember the taste of peppermint
in the candy cane hot chocolate
of childhood winters.

I scoop a wet snowball
in my softly-mittened hands,
as the fast-falling flakes
circle my warm jacket
in an intimate embrace
of white.

I meditate on the moment,
knowing that, for this fleeting gesture,
this silent tick on the forward march of time,
I am at peace.

###

The snow falls around me
in a dizzying blaze of white arrows.
Sharp icicle darts,
are thrown from gray clouds
with angry, thunderous faces.

I duck my face
and cover my head against the storm.
Ice stings my eyes
as blood pounds against my reddened cheeks.

I shiver and curse the wind
that blazes through my coat and scarf,
to wraps its icy fingers around my veins.

Time ticks forward one more agonizing second,
and I wonder if I can last.
I rush forward,
blindly seeking a warm shelter,
a comforting friend,
in the frigid storm of white.

###

Victims, and Victory through Perception

This is my second Minnesota winter. I am still amazed by the vast amount of snow that falls here during the long, frigid winter months. As I watch the snow falling yet again, I am struck by the power of my thoughts.

To illustrate my point, I wrote two poems about the snow. The first is full of joy and wonder at the delights of winter; the second is full of agony and fear in the face of a winter storm. The snow remains the same, but the experiences and thoughts of the onlooker change.

Psychologists often say that your perception is your reality, and I believe this is true, for the most part. Now, some people take it so far as to say there is no such thing as a victim, there is only a “victim mentality.” I vehemently disagree with this; as long as evil exists in the world and people choose to commit evil acts, then there will be victims of the evil. I also don’t particularly like the teachings of the “The Secret.” I don’t believe that a vision board and simply thinking positive thoughts will always bring us prosperity, wealth, and happiness. YHWH, the Divine, is more interested in your spiritual prosperity, and sometimes that involves molding through the fire.

Still, when we find ourselves to be a victim of another, or of our circumstances, or even simply in pain from life’s many storms, we do have a choice how we frame the challenge in our mind. Please do not deny the pain; you must feel your emotions and listen to your heart, your inner voice, all the time. When this voice is a hurt and crying child, listen with patience and nurturing. Feel the pain, acknowledge the pain, and love yourself.

At the same time, try not to stay in the pain. With gentle words and slow, healing touches, coax that little child out to once again face the world. Re-frame the evil events in your life, the times you were victimized, and turn them into a positive. Meditate through the pain, dance over the injury, and come out victorious.

When the storm clouds gather, and the snow falls out of your sky, can you find the courage to somehow change the white daggers piercing your heart into gentle flakes kissing your eyelashes?

Peace, love, and healing, my friends.

Photo used freely, courtesy of ak-girl on stock.xchng

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Who am I?

I am a lover
and a dreamer.
I am a writer and poet,
a musician,
a seer of the unseen,
a knower of the unknown.

I am free,
but I feel the bondage of
the unlearned souls
who try to shackle me
and make me follow their way.

I want to fly free as a bird,
but I am a worrier and a carer.
I feel the pain of others,
their griefs, their sorrows
and their stories
ground me to solid earth.

I am a learner,
learning to overcome fear,
fear of not having enough,
fear of no place to rest my head,
fear of no voice for my swirling thoughts.

But in the calm untouched sea
of my deepest being,
I do know.
I understand that the Creator will provide,
like a father giving good gifts,
and a mother nurturing her little ones,
not even a little bird wants
under the Creator’s watchful eye.

There are those
who live in greater fear than I.
They inhabit the passions of gluttony,
greed,
and the darkness of
Power.

They do not know who they are.
They have blinded themselves.
The do not understand
that in harming another
they perform the greatest violation
against themselves.

Photo used courtesy of milan6 on stock.xchng

Free From Capture: Yeshua and the Woman Caught in Adultery

Used freely, courtesy of duchesssa on stock.xchng
Used freely, courtesy of duchesssa on stock.xchng

She felt the cold air rush in on her face and graze her naked skin. She looked at her partner next to her in the bed, wicked smile starting across his lips. “You’re going to get it now, whore,” he whispered. She stared into his dark eyes, looking for a sign of humanity, a sign of life. She only saw blackness, and demons.

She had given him everything he asked, and she hadn’t even demanded a very high price. She hated the rough treatment, the constant pain in her body and mind. She felt all their glances on the street. They all knew that she was a dirty woman.

Her parents had sold her into prostitution when she was only ten years old. The midwives gave her the herbs and the treatments. All in secret. She cried with each miscarriage, each life cut short by cruel circumstance.

But then the miracle happened. The herbs didn’t take and, at age sixteen, she gave birth to her beloved daughter, the light of her life. She hid away her child, protecting her from the judgment of society and the religious leaders.

By day she shared bread and fish with her daughter, and the rare treat of an apple or some grapes. They liked to climb trees and play hide-and-seek in the warm morning sun, when people assumed her husband was busy studying Torah. She lived her own lost childhood with her daughter. A kind man knew their secret and had built them a shelter. She laid her daughter to bed there at night, and breathed a prayer of protection over her. Then she sneaked out to earn their living.

This was the only way she knew to buy a better life for her daughter. Society gave some  protection for widows, but she was only a whore with a child, never married, an illegitimate family. She knew that nobody wanted to help, so she had to fight, the only way she knew how. There were plenty of men ready to oblige.

She had continued in this life of hell for twelve years. The child was almost old enough to marry now, and, hopefully she could find a family with a son who would understand. She only had to turn a few more tricks, keep up the secret a little longer.

She knew she shouldn’t have trusted him when she saw him. He was a religious leader, a young man from the learned class. But he was handsome, and, more importantly, he had money. Lots of money. He asked her to do the deed in the morning. She had thought it unusual in daylight where people could see, but he assured her that his parents would not be home.

The sheets were soft white and the blankets rich purple. She imagined herself a queen dressed all in palace purple as she allowed him to come into her. She closed her eyes and moaned a little to please him while she pictured her daughter, a new happy bride in a happy house, sunshine filling the windows and a flourishing olive grove growing in the field. The dream of abundance swallowed up her pain.

But the icy fingers of the wind ripped her dream into shreds. The older man stood in the door, his religious robes dark against the morning sun. She tucked her head and shivered underneath the sheets. She did not cry; she had lost all of her tears when her parents abandoned her. She only thought of her daughter.

The young religious leader rose from the bed and calmly put on his clothes. “You can take her now. Do with her as you please. We’ll take care of these two trouble-makers today.”

The older religious leader came to the bed and grabbed her from the sheets. He threw her on the floor and threw her clothes on top of her. “Get dressed,” he sneered. “You know what we are going to do to you.”

The two men dragged her out of the house and down the street. They brought her to the Temple. She saw a young man teaching in the center. She had seen him somewhere before. There was a crowd whispering and talking around him. She marveled as she saw him answer a young man’s question and touch his hand. What kind of religious leader was this?

The men whisked her through the crowd and threw her at the teacher’s feet. The crowd fell silent. “We found this woman in the middle of adultery!” they proclaimed triumphantly. “Moses said in the Law to stone these kind of women. What do you say?”

The woman stared into the man’s face. He had kind eyes, a compassion she had never seen from any man. He whispered into her ear, “Don’t be afraid, I know what they’ve done to you.” He looked at the men who had dragged her in, and she saw his eyes turn to thunder.

“Well, what do you say, Yeshua?” The young religious leader sneered the name and tapped his foot impatiently. He bent down and picked up a stone from the ground. “We don’t have all day.”

The woman whispered “Are you Yeshua? The great healer?” She had heard all the stories. Hope filled her heart.

Yeshua bent down and wrote her name on the ground. He wrote the name of her daughter.

He stood up and proclaimed, “He who is without sin, throw the first stone.” The young religious leader grimaced and tightened his grip on the stone.

Yeshua bent down and wrote another name. The older man touched the young religious leader’s hand. “Let it go,” he whispered. Yeshua continued to write, name after name, sin after sin, of all of the religious leaders.

The young man and the old man turned and walked away, followed by all of the religious leaders and most of the crowd. The woman kept staring into Yeshua’s face. A dove made a mournful coo in the still morning air. What was happening?

Yeshua straightened up and looked around. “Are you the only one left? No one condemns you?”

“No, Master,” she whispered.

“Then neither do I. I know you were forced into what they call sin, but you are free from the bondage today. I have arranged for one of my disciples to care for you and your daughter. The Father loves you and has chosen you for this moment. You will be honored in heaven for your bravery.”

The woman knelt at the feet of the Master and cried.

John 8:1-11

The Dandelion and the Truth of Love

The Dandelion and the Truth of Love

It is quickly becoming winter here in Minnesota. We even had our first snow flurries today! But as I walked on an errand, I saw some brave dandelions still raising their gray, fluffy heads to the sky. I wrote a blog post some time ago about the brave dandelion, and here I revisit the flower with this poem.

Blowing dandelions
in the wind,
cottony white puffs,
softly shining joy and hope,
reminding me of childhood
against a cloudy and bleak sky.

Each seed is a promise,
which will grow into a yellow youth,
deepen into a furry white old age,
and finally give itself up,
in another cloud of seeds,
in love,
in the cycle of earth.

The dandelion whispers to me,
cajoles me gently,
asks me to pause and listen,
as I pass on my hurried way.

Her words are faint, but clear,
“Stop, rest, take joy.
For this moment.

“Ponder, wonder, learn
the natural cycle of love.”

Oh, that we would all take time
to see the little dandelion.
That we would not scoff its simplicity,
or, worse,
call it a weed,
call it the unwanted.

For only in contemplating
the small and the unwanted,
and in drinking the cycles
of the natural rhythms
of season-time,
can we ever discover the Truth
of Love.

Photo used freely, courtesy of Jo Brown on stock.xchng

I Know Why the Willow Weeps

SONY DSC

This is an excerpt from a novel which I am currently writing, but I think it is timely to post this in light of the continuing destruction and strife which our country is facing under the government shutdown.

***

I know why the willow weeps.

The willow is a sensitive soul that sees all and carries all. More than all the other trees, she feels a burden for humanity and for the state of your earth. She does not fear her own destiny, but she fears the destiny of the human heart.

Once upon a time long ago, the willow stood tall and her branches reached toward the sky, like all of the other trees. She lived in the green garden with the Tree of Life. She gently watched over Creation as she soaked in the deep secrets. Dewy teardrops would sometimes gather on her leaves as she felt so grateful and overwhelmed by awe at Creation and the great Author of Life.

One foggy morning, when the mystic clouds hung low in the sky, an angel came to earth with an important announcement. “Today, the Sleepers will be woken,” she said, “and the gates will be opened between the spirit realm and the physical earth. The Creator has ordained that the Sleepers be given another chance to follow the path of love and harmony, the path of the Kingdom.”

All of the trees trembled in excitement at the chance for rebirth and redemption. But the willow knew that this plan was also very dangerous. She had studied about the Sleepers from the Tree of Knowledge and the Akashic records.

The Sleepers had once been awake. They were beautiful beings, crafted directly from the light and the breath of the Creator. They were made in the image of the highest spirits of the Counsel. Indeed they were the sons and daughters of the gods, and they were called the Lightons. Yet, they had turned away, too quickly away, from their noble birthright and followed the destructive paths of greed and pride. Instead of following the true Kingdom path of servanthood,love, and sharing all to the abundance of all, they had set up hierarchies and little kingdoms with little thrones of power. Their light grew ever dimmer in their quest for power and control.

Eventually their thrones reached to the heavens and upset the balance of the whole spiritual universe. Great raindrops fell from heaven as the Creator cried at what had become of those beings so lovingly created with the Creator’s own life-breath.The teardrops flooded the universe and put the Lightons into a deep sleep of millions of years.

Now the counsel had decided to grant the Lightons another chance. This time they would be placed in the earth realm and take on physical bodies to hide their light. The greatest peril, and also greatest gift of the journey, is that they would forget who they were. Their reset memories would allow them a clean slate to pursue once again the path of love and harmony for which they were created and which remained the greatest desire in their deep spiritual inner places.

The willow was the most prophetic of all the trees. Some said that she could see things even beyond the knowledge of the Tree of Life, but she would never claim this for herself. As she pondered the awakening of the sleeping Lightons, she looked forward through time. The images made her branches quake in fright.

She saw wars and bloodshed over land. She saw young ones starving in the cold of the night with no mother to protect them, and she saw old wise ones laughed at, stoned, and burned by their villages in a mockery of their knowledge. She saw buildings go up as steel thrones. She saw a system of bartering and sharing morph into a system of power traded in currency called “money”. She saw the spirits of the Lightons flicker and dim until they completely forgotten that they even had a spirit, and they abandoned the very breath of the Creator inside of them. She saw them trade the great secrets for the love of power and greed once again. She saw the whole earth shudder and eventually die under the great pollution of hatred and greed.

With each vision, her branches tipped a little lower to the ground. Soon all her branches were falling down in a posture of weeping which she has assumed for thousands of years.

Yet, the willow remains a tree of green. Here tears may not be in vain. Despite all the wars, bloodshed, and destruction of the sleepers, the human race, the willow knows that a small flicker of hope remains.

It begins here with you and me. Make a choice for healing, love, and kingdom living.

Sleeper awake!

The Soul of the Tree

The Soul of the Tree

Spring is my favorite season. I enjoy feeling the wind tickling my leaves and the sun warming my branches. I enjoy watching the flowers popping up around my roots, adding their blues, yellows, purples to the newly-green grass, like a bunch of crayons in a child’s world. Spring is innocent and new. Spring is a child.

Summer is nice, too. I especially like the summer evenings, a cool blanket of darkness chasing away the thick heat. I dream of the starry constellations carrying me away to the realm of mystery and spirit, timelessness, peace. I especially like when the owls light on my branches, their deep voices echoing the wisdom of time past and future. I have never experienced the ocean, but I have known whispers from the coastal trees, and I imagine the owls and the whales singing the same haunting songs calling for the harmony and healing on earth.

Fall is the season of color and change before the rest. As a young tree, I feared fall. I was afraid to lose my beautiful leaves and stand naked before the world. As I grew older, I learned that my leaves are only the outward part of me, providing me energy and helping me to grow, but my outside is not me.

Winter is a time of rest and rebirth. I have experienced over 100 winters on earth, as the humans measure it, but the trees measure time in cycles of growth and rest, birth, and death, and rebirth. Winter brings snow and dark and the contemplation of silence. Once in a while, I wake out of my winter revelry as a squirrel brushes my trunk with its bushy tail, or scampers up my bark in search of a place to hide his treasure. Mostly I sleep and dream.

I often dream of my young days, only a seedling. I was born in the spring. I grew up through the seasons in a forest, surrounded by my elders. I most loved listening to the stories of the pines, who never lost their leaves, and welcomed the quiet of winter. They were the prophets and listeners and told us young ones about the coming days in which the forest would be no more. They told us not to worry, though, that the ancient cycles always bring balance, and that if we someday found ourselves as a sacrifice for modernity, our souls would make the journey back to the Creator and source.

I grew up feeling the struggles of all the trees. We are connected in the life circle of earth. I feel their fear and cries as the loggers come, extinguishing our life-spark in their appetite. Sometimes they use our wood for their constructions and communications, sometimes they clear us out of the way for their farms or their cities.

Today, on a sultry summer morning, I felt the spray on my trunk, a garish red x. The building and parking lot had replaced my friends and elders long ago. Now the building needed new paint, and my branches stood in the way. I knew this would be my last starry summer night, my last time enjoying the wind in my branches. During the afternoon, a storm blew through, driving rain like teardrops from the heavens. I am sad.

There are still trees around me, older than me. I feel their whispers, “Do not be afraid on the journey. Your soul is free.”

Photo used freely, courtesy of humusak2 on stock.xchng

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