Something short this week. I spent most of the week in my second five-day retreat with Philip Shepherd for the 'the embodied present process' facilitator training I'm doing this year. Here are two haikus I wrote during the week, inspired by some of the sharings in the group.
Wander in wonder
A wondering in kinship
The trees as brothers
Beauty, now passing through you
Praying to the moss
From Robin Wall Kimmerer's book Braiding Sweetgrass:
There was a custom in the mid-eighteen hundreds of planting twin trees to celebrate a marriage and the starting of a home. The stance of these two, just ten feet apart, recalls a couple standing together on the porch steps, holding hands. The reach of their shade links the front porch with the barn across the road, creating a shady path of back and forth for that young family.
I realize that those first homesteaders were not the beneficiaries of that shade, at least not as a young couple. They must have meant for their people to stay here, Surely those two were sleeping up on Cemetery Road long before the shade arched across the road. I am living today in the shady future they imagined, drinking sap from trees planted with their wedding vows. They could not have imagined me, many generations later, and yet I live in the gift of their care. Could they have imagined that when my daughter Linden was married, she would choose leaves of maple sugar for the wedding giveaway?
Such a responsibility I have to these people and these trees, left to me, an unknown come to live under the guardianship of the twins, with a bond physical, emotional, and spiritual. I have no way to pay them back. Their gift to me is far greater than I have ability to reciprocate. They're so huge as to be nearly beyond my care, although I do scatter granules of fertilizer at their feet and turn the hose on them in summer drought. Perhaps all I can do is love them. All I know to do is to leave another gift, for them and for the future, those next unknowns who will live here. I heard once that Maori people make beautiful wood sculptures that they carry long distances into the forest and leave there as a gift to the trees. And so I plant Daffodils, hundreds of them, in sunny flocks beneath the Maples, in homage to their beauty and in reciprocity for their gift.
Why have I added this to my paper museum? It is a beautiful example of doing something not because you have a particular purpose in mind – the time frame for the realisation of that is too long – but that feels like the right thing to do and will benefit somebody in the future, in ways you might not be able to imagine. Also links back to my email on imagination. And I also like the idea to pay gifts forward to what and who might come next.
Closeup of moss, from Flickr