Photo: Tombo the Tominator
Nature frees and inspires because it has nothing to do with our earnest, meaningful, petty lives.
That juniper tree I once loved is out there right now, standing in the yellow grass, slowly, imperceptibly growing, holding the feet and prying beaks of chittering bushtits and sparrows. Its square-checked bark slowly desiccates on the trunk, its deep-pale green boughs gently bob in the breeze. Where does the wind come from?
There’s the tree nearby I never loved, never saw, its own existence playing out without my memory, without my acknowledgment.
I can cut the tree down and turn it into firewood, paint it, write about it, buy the land around it and make it mine. I can bring it loving-kindness, sense its essential stillness, watch its impermanence turn it into nothing. Yet in all of these there is already too much “I.” Tree has no lesson for “me” today. “Tree doesn’t care about me” is a story spun out of thin air.
Browsing mule deer places a light hoof in tree’s shadow. Mouse bones dissolve into soil at tree’s feet. Tree’s naked white-pink rootlets inch silently into basalt boulder’s dirt-filled holes.
The wind and the water, the dancing urge of growth, the snow and the baking sun. The plaintive peal of the goldfinch in the aching thorny hills. Nothing, nothing to do with me, and all mine.
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