My friends of C3,
Please meditate with me, on a tree.
A metaphor for growth and reliance
And for life
A common metaphor but I hope not trite,
There’s the tree of life
And that pesky forbidden tree of knowledge.
And the poet saying that he’d never see a poem
As lovely as a tree.
For today, I will try to weave compassion into the metaphor of a tree
In the way we use our moral imaginations to learn from nature
And think beyond nature to find compassion in ourselves,
Or perhaps the only thing we can do,
Is to find compassion for ourselves.
I choose an oak
A local tree. I’ve found acorns in my yard
Bursting with life,
One shoot going up and another heading downward.
Oak leaves cover our forest paths,
And fill my compost bin.
Oaks live long lives if they can.
We take from oaks, sturdy, beautiful wood.
And make tables of golden oak.
And lay floors of red oak.
I have two oak trees
Whose lateral branches grow to the edges of my yard.
They are slow to leaf out in spring
And slow to drop their browning leaves.
A tree’s branches are another part of the metaphor.
Branches reach toward light.
And balance each other all around the trunk.
I picture my oaks as part of a wide forest canopy
Where primates made their nests
For a good night’s sleep protected from lions and leopards.
And the trunk.
It ages gracefully with a ring for every year.
Getting stronger and showing its journey.
We can see whether it suffered drought or sunburn as a sapling,
Whether insects or wilt found their way in, to weaken it.
It stands, a little crooked perhaps, but its branches still reach for the sky
Its bark grows thick as a weathered face.
We come to the roots,
The unseen part of the tree.
Roots, the unseen strength of us all.
When I started to think of C3 as a tree
Roots came to mind.
Roots glimpsed by some, known well by a very few,
Mostly unseen by new comers,
But if we are here, so are our roots.
We are here, reaching for the light.
Our roots, like a tree’s, seeking fertile, moist ground
Our trunk is strong and we are the branches.
I am strong, and you are strong,
We are the product of the roots of our forebears,
Our trunks may be crooked by life’s twists and turns.
But our branches reach out each other to touch each other,
And touch those who are hard to touch.
Nature helps me find myself,
And when I find myself,
I seek compassion.
I wish us light, love and compassion.