Every week, it seems that a good summary could be, “wow.” Our normal descriptors are all falling short. I have been wishing that the English language was a little more like German, with helpful compound words like kummerspeck (gaining weight from comfort eating – literally, “grief bacon”) and weltschmerz (pain that the world does not live up to our expectations).
In a time like this, it sure doesn’t help to keep scrolling through the news. It doesn’t help to keep asking others if they can believe whatever is it the headlines. And grief bacon is rarely a good idea either.
The best part of this week for me was taking a long walk on Friday evening, when my in-box had started to ping a little more slowly and the rain had finally stopped. Along my favorite road in my favorite place is a great old maple tree, with limbs sprawling everywhere and a heart-shaped scar from a branch that fell long ago.
I’ve admired this tree for years, but usually I look up as I stroll by, give a nod, and keep moving. This week I wandered off of the path, right up to the base of the tree. I examined the bark, admired the turning leaves, took in the whole web of branches over head, and sat for a good long while, leaning against the trunk and hoping that some wisdom would soak through to my spine. No earbuds, no screens, no others.
Friends, we need to get beyond ourselves. We need to put our time in a larger frame, vital and urgent as this moment is. Worthy service or useful work or a good book can do this. Time with children or those in need or other dear ones can do this. Rivers and rocks and trees can do this.
Curiously enough, stretching beyond our current time and place allows us to be IN our current time and place more fully, with love and care and equanimity.
Dear ones, let’s turn off the news, just for a bit.
Let’s go see a tree.
Though age is just one small of what makes this particular tree special, thanks to a handy online calculator I learned that it is likely over 250 years old!
This maple is also the one that is featured in the chapter headings for my new book – details on Month of Sundays are below.
Our new publication, Month of Sundays, can be found pretty much everywhere, thanks to the magic of print-on-demand technology. Thank you to those who have supported this endeavor, whose proceeds will be recirculated to some of the most vital nonprofits around.
Thank you for asking how to further support this project!