Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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The warmth of others

I am so thankful to share this heart-sustaining Guest Post from writer and blogger Jane Bullock.

Sketch by Kathy Gilman

Her blog, luluopolis, provides daily inspiration (and often delightfully humorous company). Today, these thoughts of hers took my breath away.

 

Bird Wisdom

By Jane Bullock

Ever notice how some birds fly in a sort of formation? They wheel and dip and soar together, and when they are tired of that, they all roost on telephone poles and wires. They also like to cluster in trees together, gossiping and scolding each other. They remind me of old women who love to cluck and complain about the youth of each generation.

Photo: N. Augusta Vincent

When I lived in Texas, I became very fond of the birds who liked to perch in the trees next to my apartment. It would be just about the time when the sun started descending into the hills, and the moon would show her shining face to us. It was just as if the birds knew that it was time to settle in for the night, and have their last bit of chatter before sleep.

There was a sweet story I heard long ago about birds in the winter. When the days grew cold and there was little shelter for the birds, the little birds would ask the larger birds if they could cuddle up under one of their wings. The body heat of the big bird would keep a little bird warm and safe during a cold night.

Artwork: Jeannie Hunt

While many of the big birds allowed this, some did not. When an extremely cold night came, the birds sheltered up together to stay warm. However, there were a few of the big birds who refused to shelter the little ones.

When morning came, the sun came out and the air began to warm a bit. All the big birds and the little birds that they sheltered made it through the cold night. But all the big birds who refused to shelter the little ones died of the cold.

Even as little as the birds were who sheltered under the wings of larger birds, their tiny warmth kept the big birds alive. And of course, the warmth of the big birds kept the little ones alive. But those who wouldn’t share died cold and alone.

This little story always reminds me how of important it is to reach out to others, to share what warmth we have to give, and to cherish the warmth of others. We need each other, not just to weather a hard time, but to remember that we are all in this life together.

Find Jane’s blog, luluopolis, here: https://luluopolis.com


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How copper becomes gold

Photo: Saffron Moser

 

Some words that particularly guide the way for me, right now —

“The teachings of the Bahá’í Faith instruct us to work to reshape society based on principles of love, inclusiveness, and reciprocity.

“This requires that our means be consistent with our ends―that is, by transcending current approaches that tend to divide people into contending groups, raising consciousness in such a way as to bring them together in the earnest and honest search for solutions.

Photo: Diane Kirkup

“The language we use and the attitudes we take, while not ignoring the harsh realities that exist in the world, should appeal to the nobler aspirations of our fellow-citizens. They should reflect assurance that the vast majority of us sincerely desire justice, and must be unifying rather than divisive.

“Above all, our approach must be suffused with the spirit of the sacred Word, which grants us access to immense spiritual resources. Indeed, it is the one power on earth that can transform the copper of human consciousness into the gold of spiritual perception and behavior.”

 ~ National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States, February 25, 2017.


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Singing the high parts, together

In this steamy East-Coast week, my heart is delighted to share A Winter’s Day, a Guest Post from writer, muser, and soul-life sounder, Larry Moffitt.

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Larry and Taeko Moffitt

A WINTER’S DAY

by Larry Moffitt

It’s late July, early, early in the morning. Slightly post pre-dawn. The sky only appears to be transitioning from dark purple to the lighter blue range. At this point, whether the horizon will ever actually brighten, whether the sun will rise, is anybody’s guess. I stand in front of the window sipping coffee. If I hold the cup right under my eye and peer over the rim toward where the sky meets the horizon, I catch the purple in the steam.

Honey Nim comes out, “What are you doing?”

One eye closed, keeping the cup absolutely still, I focus like a Shaolin monk. “I’m steaming the purple.”

“Go put on some clothes.”

“I made you some coffee. Sugar?”

“Not today, and just a little arf-n-arf. Thanks. So what are you doing?”

“Look… steam. And dark purple sky… over there near the ground.”

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Image: D. Kirkup Designs

She sips her coffee, looking thoughtfully where I’m pointing. “Yeah.”

I switch gears, sing softly, “A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December. I am alone, gazing from my window to the streets below, on a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. I am a rock; I am an island.”

“What’s that?”

“Song… Paul and Artie… You know, ‘…and here’s to you Mrs. Robinson, heaven holds a place…’ those guys.”

“Oh yeah… tall, curly hair, sings the high part.”

“The song is about isolation and emotional detachment.”

She knows I’m headed somewhere with this, or not, and she has this nice habit of not rushing it. It’s a survival trick for when you find yourself in an international or interracial marriage. Our conversations can drift rudderless for minutes on end without anyone requiring a “point.” Until one of us gets it, we usually wait it out in the middle distance. She moves past me, closer to the window and gazes, squinting, willing the deep purple to dissolve into sunrise. 321531_266820190007774_1813369758_n

I stand behind her, talking into the back of her neck. “Which do you think is better, to give yourself freely to loving another even though you could end up broken-hearted, or to carefully protect your heart, but in doing so, never feel the roller-coaster thrill of love?”

She turned, puzzled. “What?”

It’s not a terribly complicated idea, and I knew the gap was mostly technical, so I explained it again, in more or less similar words.

“It makes him crazy,” she said.

“Love makes you crazy?”

“Yes,” she said, “know what I mean, jellybean?”

“I know what you mean, crocodile.”

I put my arms around her, drawing her in. Our cups of coffee mutually encircled one another. I sang another snippet. “I have my books and my poetry to protect me…”

“Go put on some clothes.”

484491_10151600247560269_529055315_nAbout Larry:

The final, and most difficult, seeking of my life is to find, and become, my true self. To genuinely become SanViejo (Saint Old Guy), not just have it as my email address. I was born in Liberal, Kansas — the most misnamed place since Greenland — in a breech birth. I have been on a cattle drive in Paraguay, I have been to a cockfight and I got kissed on the mouth by the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakhstan. I am good at growing tomatoes. I am driven by three unmanageable forces: a meaning of life gene, an art & poetry gene, and a humor gene. Not necessarily in that order. I want to live by the side of the road and be a friend to man.