Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19
By Callie Schmidt
I watch as a mother and her son walk hand-in-hand across the grass. Trees sprouting
flowers of spring guard the park. Ducks lazily float in the lake, never stopping to worry if
they should go to college or find a job.
Humans are such odd creatures. We seem to be the only ones living beyond our means,
taking more than we give back to the earth. Why are we the only ones who haven’t
seemed to figure it out yet?
Trees don’t debate the existence of climate change; they feel the effects of it.
I’ve always had a special connection to trees. Their silent energy, the way they see things
and understand, never judging. Study the anatomy of trees was my favorite part of
organismic biology. The cork cambium, the xylem and the heartwood. The growth rings.
What if humans had a form of growth rings? That way, everyone could see what kind of
year we had – if there were a lot of storms in our lives, if we drank enough water.
Does a tree reflect on its life and set goals for the next year? To nap less, to soak up life
just a little bit more? I know I do.
Nature makes me feel more alive, more connected. Less like I’m going crazy.
Yet I still don’t make enough time to give back to the earth that has given everything to
Wow, I love this earth. Illuminated beauty and an eternity of wonder. The questions
never end. Oh, how I love the questions. The questions that lead to searching, the
searching that leads to answers that lead to more questions. A metaphor for the circle of
life, the endless cycle of death, rebirth, new life.
“Practice resurrection,” Wendell Berry says.
I think that means realizing and accepting our role as the caretakers of the earth that
cares for us.
As I sit with my legs crossed on the crimson bench of Central Park, I look up to see the
moon in the baby blue sky. Purple flowers form a ring around a young coniferous tree.
The scene looks like it came out of a storybook.
A weeping willow leans into the water, its branches somehow defying death and
blossoming with fresh new leaves.
The art of seeing things. The art of observation, of hanging out. The art of learning how
to know something.
The earth smells new. A baby beaver climbs around on the branches of the willow. Three
elders all sporting white tennis shoes reconnect on the walking path, laughing. The
female jokes with the male in the blue shirt, gray sweatpants and red hat that he needs
to pay to walk here.
Two monks walk past with shaven heads and maroon robes, smiling and saying hello to
every person they encounter, being more present in that moment than most people ever
are in their entire lives.
This is a magical place. Earth. Dirt. Water.
We are a part of nature; nature is a part of us. Glory to God.