What in my own life needs to be
This beautiful place in the woods
that holds me so deeply
that I love so well
could also kill me
tall and supple
can fall and crush
firm, supportive and unyielding
can crack a skull
blowing and caressing
can become tornadic
bright and beautiful
can scorch and obliterate
So many sacrifices
so much growth
so much change
It is never the same here
never stop paying attention
and the trees make patterns on blue sky
with thin, fingers of branches
What is left
when everything I don’t need
is cut away
It is beautifully warm today and I went down to the woods with an eye toward spotting signs of spring. I carried a book with me, imagining that I might lie out there for a while and read, but I set the book aside. It isn’t really a place for reading. It is place for paying attention. There is a rock that is particularly good for lying on and so I laid on my back and looked up at the skies and trees. While I like doing that, it always makes me think sacrificial stone and then I feel a little weird and “laid out.” So, today I ran with that phrase instead of hopping away to something else.
I also noticed high up in one of the trees, there appears to be growth or buds of some kind, almost like tiny flowers, and there were a lot of insects hovering around it. I though it was a sycamore tree because of the color and the bark, but squinting up at those high up, far away flowers, I think it is really a maple tree. There are a lot of very small maples in the woods, so it would be consistent. This year I plan to pay better attention to what kind of trees there are in this little grove.
On the small tulip poplar right before I enter the woods, I paused to take a photo of its scarred trunk. The first year we planted it strong winds split it down the middle. My husband taped it together with black electric tape, which I did not think would work, and yet it totally knitted back together and is totally fine. We are stronger in our broken places.
And, it finally feels like time to share my very best, favorite quote about rocks:
Rocks are very slow and have sat around from the beginning, developing powers…Rocks can show you what you are going to become. They show you lost and forgotten things.
–Agnes Whistling Elk to Lynn Andrews (quoted in Carol Christ’s essay in Reweaving the World, pg. 69)
In the same essay, Carol Christ then goes on to explain:
The Great Spirit of the Native Americans is linked to the spirits of all beings, including rocks… Susan Griffin writes, ‘Behind naming, beneath words, is something else. An existence named, unnamed, and unnameable.’ There is a human tendency to name this unnameable with personal language, to believe that it cares as we care. I imagine, but I do not know, that the universe has an intelligence, a Great Spirit, that it cares as we care. I imagine that all that is cares. Sometimes I feel that I hear the universe weeping or laughing, speaking to me. But I do not know. What I do know is that whether the universe has a center of consciousness or not, the sight of a field of flowers in the color purple, the rainbow, must be enough to stop us from destroying all that is and wants to be.