Friday, February 28, 2014

Homage, Spirit


(v.) :  an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms

As soon as I enter the trail that takes me through the forest each day, I can feel the spirit in nature. It takes on different qualities as I amble along. The invasive, common buckthorn trees, growing amongst the senescent apple trees in the aging orchard, give me a slightly uneasy feeling as I pass through. I have no reason not to like the buckthorns, though thorny, they have pretty bundles of deep blue berries that color this otherwise white season. Yet, I am aware that they are slowly dominating the area.

This goes on for close to a mile, and then I come upon bittersweet berries, brilliant, in the canopy above, the vines themselves are chunky, and wrap around trees; they give off a different quality of spirit. It is said that bittersweet is commonly found in areas that are suffering from disturbance, and sure enough, these vines have emerged in land where once abandoned metal buckets, twisted wire fencing, and even an old iron head board, and box springs landed. There is even a kitchen sink.

Further up, the forest of evergreens begins; elegant, they hold the snow in their airy branches. Dispersed among them are ancient trees, each in varying stages of their life cycle, some with enormous girth, yet few branches, and others branchy but full of holes that provide entryways for fauna. There is a spirit of community and wise energy here; I like to pause and take it in.

About three miles up, I come to a group of venerable white pines, one whose split trunk has become a shrine, here I leave wishes, and prayers of thanks, and treasures buried under the dense needles that have collected in the trunk's fork.

Whether I am in the terrain of ferns or the locus of icy mountain streams, replete with mossy rocks, I am always aware of the spirit of the forest. Machelle Small Wright, in her book, Behaving as if the God in All Life Matters, talks about the spirit in nature as devas. The origin of the word 'deva' comes from Sanskrit language, meaning "to shine," or, "become bright." If this is how the devas reveal themselves, it is easy to see them as I move through the forest.

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.                {e.e. cummings}