I believe that it is good to live one’s life in two worlds, in the realm of matter, plants and black earth and animals to be cared for, and in the realm of spirit, words and meaning and truths, poems and stories woven in the gathering night. It is good to cultivate these two lives and to watch them grow and intertwine until all is holy, breathing in the mist in the early light of morning as a prayer. I believe it is necessary to pay homage to the dark night of this world of wars and destruction and pain, raising up prayers for redemption and restoration to the fires that consume towns and farms. I believe it is crucial to lift up prayers of deep gratitude for the cloud of witnesses which guard our lives, for the fires that we light to burn through the cold of winter nights, to warm our hands and feet and to see in its dancing light the faces of others who keep watch under the stars, spinning words into hard iron hope. I believe it is good to give up offerings to the life of the green earth by tilling weeds under the rich soil and sowing seeds, acting as midwife to lambs and goats. It is good to plant olive trees for the grandchildren’s future, to prune the apple trees in the orchard planted by our own grandparents. The world seems suddenly struck by a moral myopia, unable to recognize that life continues far beyond the reach of our lives. It is good to be with others who see the clear light of morning, who rise to plant and tend to the gentle lives of still hidden hopes in the midst of very visible and intimidating fears of end-times and wars.
I wake at dawn and pull on my clothes, dark blue pants and layers of shirts to guard against the cold, a wool sweater and knit hat and warm boots. I am clothed in love: a hat knit in Norway, a sweater from the Maine Northwoods, around my neck the silver pendant with an old tree etched into it. I pull on socks made from the wool of sheep in the pastures of New Zealand and boots that have been resoled several times by a kind man in the next town over.
We gird our belts and pull on our work gloves and greet the day, praying for some speck of hope in a world increasingly run by fear and isolation. Will we ever come to see the strong lives that guard our way? Feeling that there is no security, always searching for some safe haven only to be tossed out by hurricane or war or hunger. We are a world increasingly seeking to hide in holes, when what we have is each other. Afraid to connect when this is in fact the only salvation we have. In passing through the world, we pass from loving arms to loving arms, like stepping stones over the wide river of life. This I believe.
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