Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

At the center of the circle



A young friend described the rapid, often overnight changes appearing in the garden he and his wife have tended so carefully. Just days ago, there was limitless, burgeoning life in summer’s relentless sun and heat and rainfall.

Then, like a puff of breath on a dandelion gone to seed, it is spent and gone; fading away, or into decay.

In New England especially, these changes arrive as abruptly as the night chill that turns the leaves from green to scarlet.

“Stay at the center of the circle, and let all things take their course,” urges the Tao Te Ching.

IMG_9912Out at the sharp edges of the periphery, our very human selves can feel small and overcome, overwhelmed, in the inevitable enormity of change. The mind, confounded, struggles for purchase it can’t find.

It’s then that a way is opened through which feelings, those unexpected guests left waiting so long in a side room, can emerge. Autumn, in particular, with its cycles of death and harvest, seems well-suited for inviting forth the grief and pain that so much effort has tried so long to avoid, or contain.Those seeds of unclaimed treasure found only in a heart broken open.

IMG_1808The center of the circle, that trustworthy core, can hold these, and us, as it holds all, and remind of what Rumi saw with such kind wisdom:

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and scared. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do. 
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth.

What is the beauty we love?

What are those hundreds of ways?


4 thoughts on “At the center of the circle

  1. Wow, that was beautiful. Thank you.

  2. Much love to you, sweet Sarah.

  3. Lovely words, Phyllis – resonates with me this morning. Spent all day yesterday at a young cousin’s memorial/funeral with family — an untimely death two weeks ago of a young mother. Our grandfathers were brothers & I am close to the family. Upon coming home, I fell asleep fast last night, overwhelmed by the surge of emotion & grief that I could not yet express — then very early this morning, still dark, found myself moving quietly out of an uneasy slumber, where a slowly evolving awareness – a twilight awakening – plunged me into the deep fierce pit of grief, pain, sorrow — tears — “a heart broken open”

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