Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Biding at the center of the circle

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

A 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.

Out 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.

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Photo: Nancy Vincent Zinke

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.

The 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:

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Photo: Nancy Vincent Zinke

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?

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Books, birthdays and butterflies

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Enter by Feb. 6 to win.

As my novel, The Munich Girl, reaches more readers, I’m continually moved and surprised by the level of response that the book is bringing.

It’s a privilege to receive readers’ impressions about themes that weave through the story.

Gayle Hoover notes,  “It’s the women in this story who have the real strength, even in instances when they easily could have been seen as only victims.”

At the heart of it all, the story’s goal is to encourage discussion at levels that will take another look at many things, including our very own selves.

Albert Marquet - Jardin du Luxembourg, 1898. Oil on canvas, 15 x 17 3_4 in. (38 x 45 cm). @ Sotheby's Images, London_n

Albert Marquet, Jardin du Luxembourg, 1898. Oil on canvas, Sotheby’s Images, London

Those who’ve made the way through the novel know that many objects and events in it invite the way toward looking at things anew. One image in particular that does this is a butterfly.

February is the month when the two friends in this story each have a birthday, each born in a Leap Year like this one.

To celebrate, I’m having a drawing at the beginning and end of the month. On February 6, which was also Eva Braun’s birthday, I’ll draw the name of two winners for a signed copy of the book and a silver butterfly bracelet designed by artist Diane Kirkup.

To enter, send an email to info@phyllisring.com with “Butterfly” in the subject line. Those who include any thoughts about the book or a photo of themselves with it will receive 3 entries.12369218_10208140857064106_2523709969075442989_n

And my deepest thanks to each and every one who is connecting with The Munich Girl.

It is readers, and only readers, who give a book its truest life.

 

Find more about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War here:

http://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast/dp/0996546987/