Thursday, August 10, 2017
I have found the Sky
While walking in the woods yesterday I chanced upon this crooked little tree. The sun was casting a beam on its severe crook. I'm sure that's why it caught my attention. Or maybe it was the voice:
"I've found the Sky!"
"I see that you have," I smiled, turning off the trail and coming up to it. "Yet it has not been an easy journey for you."
"It was not." The branches seemed to nod gently in the breeze. "Come. Sit. That is why you stopped here, isn't it -- to read some of my story. To learn of its bends and twists?"
"More," I said, thinking of a crippling winter ice storm, of hungry deer in search of anything edible poking up above the snow. "I came to listen. I came to learn what you have to say."
"Harrummmm," said the tree, imitating its elders, friends with the ancient among the trees. "I suppose that you have."
She paused, tree-like, in stillness, awaiting the next breath of wind. "I suppose that I have ... a thing to tell you."
I waited. Clouds were creeping in on the west wind, and the sun hid. The breeze was getting chillier. There was the smell of coming rain.
"It was the weather, wasn't it?" I asked, hoping to be on my way, my impatient human way.
"The weather is life!" She startled me with her sudden intensity. "Sometimes life knocks you down, you know. It is a lesson in humility."
"I've learned that we need those lessons," I nodded.
"Good. Then you pay attention. When life knocks you down, you find the new path that is shown to you. It is not the same path as your old path."
"Still toward the sky, no?"
"Look at me. Compare me with those stiff, arrow-straight ones around me. Do not let pride control you. It makes you far too easy to knock down."
"Were you proud of how quickly you were stretching upward? Perhaps impatient, not waiting to build a strong stem?"
She didn't answer directly. But in her answer was all the unspoken anguish of her trauma. "Some say 'Never Give Up', thinking it to be wisdom. When a path fails you, the wise traveler gives it up."
"You find another path, but still toward the sky, right? You never give up reaching for the sky."
"No. NO. You speak of the sky above us. The sky that your eyes see. The sky that brings life and ... brings Chaos. No, human. The true and steadfast Sky is within you. When death knocks you down, your pain will be in proportion to your pride. Your joy proportional to your humility."
"Wise words for one so small among the ancients," I nodded. "You came to know this because of your battering, and your struggle afterward."
"When you are weakest, the ancients' voice is strongest."
Ahhhh, II Corinthians 12:9, I thought to myself. Even the trees know that strength is perfected in weakness.
"I carry an older book than that."
Her words snapped me out of my reverie. "Yes. And so do I," I managed to reply. "Thank you."
I stood and returned to the trail. My DNA was telling me to get out of the rain.