wisdom of fathers and trees
In the fall of 1988, adjusting to the oppressive heat of Dallas, Texas, where I struggled through my first year as a Montessori teacher, I longed for the coolness and kin of my Oregon home.
My always wise and practical father suggested spending more time in gratitude and less in self-pity and offered to send me the daily prayer with which he began and ended his days. That was the first and only letter I ever received from my father, a man of few words but enormous heart, and it became an anchor in my daily spiritual practice. I carried that yellow piece of paper around in my wallet for almost thirty years, until it nearly fell apart, and still carry a copy of the original. Over the years, Dad's words merged with my own as my spiritual practice evolved.
In recent months, as the pandemic rages on and more and more people face hardships of health and well-being, I find myself in prayer throughout day. Several times a week I visit an old, towering Western Red Cedar tree in Tryon Creek Forest, where I lean in close for wisdom and comfort. This morning, snuggled up against that old familiar tree friend, having finished prayers in which some of you were included, I surveyed my view of the forest and allowed my heart to open to the vast beauty in which I am held; and through which we are all connected, all the time.
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