How I love this world. An elegant variety in a multitude of growing things: flowers, shrubs, annuals, perennials, and tall dogwood next to tiny purple eruptions from ground I never planted. Could the abundance entice us to bloom as well? To bloom into love for ourselves and others?
Does the tree just tolerate the camellia? The crabapple the crocus? Or do they love their neighbors? The primordial and present forest trees are connected with nearly invisible fungal filigrees beneath the duff that help them send warning signals about environmental change, search for kin, and transfer their nutrients to neighboring plants before they die. The visible roots themselves crisscrossed unpredictably throughout the paths we just walked, or more honestly, climbed and stepped over and around only with occasional slippage.
Wouldn’t it be loverly if we had the same invisible links to humanity? Don’t we already? Isn’t it a relief to recognize a fellow human being (of any stripe) when we feel most exposed and vulnerable?
In my yard I mourn the decline of hosta and anticipate the hellebore. The red coral bark maple is a delight as it turns crimson in the winter. As much as I have to watch my step on damp, slippery leaves, I love how leaves seem strewn by an artist on the rich earth below. The splash of bright yellow beech or larch surprise me amid a stand of evergreen.
How I love the pebbled shore, too, and the sea’s chuckling laugh as it recedes into its vast deep. The steady slap at the pocked, worn bulkhead. The salty air where gulls sail in rising circles.
What a blessing to live in the Northwest where temperate winds freshen the air and all we dare to fear is deep within the tectonic grinding below. This world is fragile–dependent on millions of intermixed elements, its inner furnace and molten center hissing out through fissures and shooting out geysers we gleefully cheer to see.
I wish I could embrace it whole. Despite its hazards, how sweet, how precious–more because it might not much longer remain our permanent safe home. Even now, so many of our neighbors across the globe suffer more than we with rising water, drought, hunger, typhoon and hurricane. I hold them in my heart and sing comfort prayers of peace and well-being.
What if our emergence here as infants is the inauguration of our education: learning how to love. Love is taught by a myriad people, peoples far away we’re only beginning to see as neighbors. Distance need not dictate fear more than love—why not neighborliness? What if the dream of earth is for all of us to share this fragile home, our island planet? To love, nurture it, and care for its tender and delicate balance.
I have had a tiny microchip planted near my heart ensuring that it beats methodically–always. It will no longer need to think so hard, after years of unpredictability. Now, will there be more room in it for love? More capacity than mechanics–love that I can teach, model, and offer lavishly without regret? I hope so.