Monday, August 17, 2015

In the Company of Trees

Now and then I read something that inspires the Dickinson Effect within my psyche. ~ If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.~ (Emily Dickinson)

Now and then I read something that pushes me back in my chair and whispers, "I think you understand, reader..."

So it was when I made my way through Flipboard one morning and clicked on one of my favorite sections-- Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. She was reflecting on the memoir of Eve Ensler, writer, activist, playwright.

There was the tree. My tree. Not that I owned it. I had no desire for that. But it had come to be my friend, my point of connection and meditation, my new reason to live. I was not writing or producing or on the phone or causing anything happen...I was not contributing much more than my appreciation of the tree, my love of green, my commitment to trunk and bark, my celebration of branch, my insane delight over the gentle white May blossoms that were beginning to flower everywhere.

--Eve Ensler, from her memoir, In the Body of the World

In each place I have lived for the last number of years, I too have had a tree.

In Grand Coteau, it was the sweet olive on the corner between the library door and the arcade. Her light flowerypeachy scent inspired the first poem I ever published and remains one of the most beautiful perfumes I have ever caught on a breeze.

Gonna be like

Heaven gonna smell

like sweet-olive, friend;

Gonna have galleries for sitting

breezes for cooling

singing to joy-up the choir of

souls swinging

a coming-home


flowers gonna jump

into bouquets of beauty

branches gonna clap their leaves

for the God-feel in the air;

sleep gonna be deep

dreams of no more hurt

no pain but the release

of joy sighs

at the taste of

salt rivers flowing

into the ocean

of arms-open


Kimberly M. King, rscj; Copyright 2002, National Catholic Reporter

In New York City, there is a tree in Central Park right at the end of 91st Street as you come in from Madison where the bus leaves you off. When in her fullness, her glory spanned the whole width of the street. In the fall, she stood in her sticks with dignity, hope, and promise. I talked to her almost every least a friendly greeting.

In Saint Charles, it was the pair of trees that held branches on the far side of the soccer field. Sigh, it is possible that they have now been cut down as they make their way through changes to the campus. At least they'd have been cut down together, if they are gone. I can't imagine one lasting long without the other...stretching her leaves in a desire to connect with the one that rooted itself beside her. I loved that they were company for one blooming times and the fallow seasons, both.

Then here in Halifax...the marvelous godly tree who opens herself so boldly to each new day. I love praying with her and being with her in the mornings and watching the changing dance with you throughout the year.

And, there have been other times...

In Washington state, Shelton, it must have been, there was the tree that understood. The weeping tree, that simply stood with me in the fog.

Going back many years, there were the apple trees at the base of my grandparents' yard...the buckeye at the top of of the garden at one childhood home, the crabapple at a friend's house with branches low enough for me to climb without acrobatics and certain danger... Each one of these, a refuge, a sanctuary, of peace and security.

Thank you for watching over me in so many beautiful guises...






Sunday, August 9, 2015

Glimpses of Holy

I went to the market early yesterday morning. As I walked down from where I parked the car, I saw the same guy I see every week I go, sitting on the guardrail by the sidewalk. He always seems to be waiting for something, or someone, or perhaps not. I passed and greeted him with a "Good morning!" He responded, "You're the first one I've seen! Can I tell you a story? My friend sat on my knee last night! Just sat right on my knee. Now THAT doesn't happen very often, does it? A baby starling, right there on my knee! We had a conversation and then he flew away."


Yesterday I went into The Smiling Goat to review French. I got up to the counter and the young woman helping me grinned and said "Hey! I passed you on the street the other day and thought-- I haven't seen her in here in forever! How's your summer? What can I get you to drink?" I told her about my summer as she made up my iced americano. "That sounds cool...and I am glad you're back."




From an opera performance of Emily Dickinson poetry that I went to on Thursday at the local public library... "I find ecstasy in living-- the mere sense of living is joy enough."

When I think of the fullness and and diverse facets of what I believe it means to truly live...all I can say is Amen.


I was away near Lunenburg, NS for a couple of days last week. One of those nights, I went on to the porch to say good night to the evening sky. As soon as I lifted my head to gaze into the spread of infinity, a shooting star sparked her path triumphant across the palette of darkness.