April 21, 2020
STOP, LOOK, LISTEN
What I learned from the Iris:
The steel grey sky pressed down heavily. There has been no rain. The snow has disappeared except for blackened remnants of icy mountains in the northern corners of parking lots and a few icy patches hidden in pine groves. The world is brown and dirty and unkempt.
I bought an armful of iris. Their buds shut up tight, waiting for the gentle caress of sunbeams and a drink of water.
The sun has come and the iron clouds have flown. Golden light is pouring through my windows. It bathes my purple iris. The buds are swelling, a few peeking open. One beginning to unfurl. By afternoon another has broken open fully, showing the streaks of sunlight woven into her purple petals. My heart hears her song, just beyond hearing.
Then, my iris just, stopped. Day two, day three — I watch them slowly wither. They died, unopened. Their beauty hidden, never shared. Were they afraid? Was it too overwhelming to split their protective shield and expose themselves to the wide-open world? Is the world too scary?
They withheld their one small gift to the world. Perhaps they thought it didn’t matter. Perhaps they thought their gift was insignificant, too small, unworthy.
They didn’t understand that withholding their gift meant some winter weary person never experienced a smile curving upward to ignite even briefly a sparkle in her eye and a lightening of his heart. They didn’t understand that a tiny insect was denied a sip of needed nectar.
All they had to do was unfold. All they needed was to BE… to open to who they were intended to become.
What I learned from the Trees:
“Find your place, accept it with grace. Grow roots before you grow branches. Give shelter, shade and nourishment to those who seek your protection. And in your passing, leave the earth richer for those who follow.” Kent Nerburn — Road Angels / Avenue of the Giants
I walked among the trees today. I touched their skin. I picked a Pine needle and broke it and breathed it’s perfume. A stand of Birch commanded the steep and rocky river bank. I grasped the strong sapling as I carefully navigated my descent to the river. I sat on a shelf of rock under a large Cedar and watched the river roar by, carrying the last of the winter melt.
I remember the Grandmother (Oak? Maple? Cottonwood?) that grew along a pathway near a river in a different time and place. I used to sit in the niche between two of her huge roots that protruded from the earth and rest my back against her trunk. Here I would seek comfort, peace, wisdom. Sometimes in the deep dark of night. One morning following a viscous storm that had riven the night skies, I found her fallen. Her body lay across the path. Men came with chain saws and took her away. I felt her absence. I missed her.
Slowly my body fills with peace. I head home full of earth and rock and trees and rushing water.