We saw swallows skimming the surface of the pond,
kissing their reflection as their wingtips played ‘dare’ with the ripples.
We saw mountains huddled under blankets of snow,
reaching out hopefully towards the strengthening sun.
We saw trees, deserted by their leaves,
caught between Winter that had stripped them bare
and the promise of Spring’s new clothes;
Buds paused at the tips of branches
waiting for the warmth that would set them free.
We were onlookers;
revelling in the splendour that surrounded us;
re-created by the beauty of this time between seasons.
Oh to look, to enjoy, but not to touch;
because too much of what we touch turns to dust.
When we take what the universe is not ready to give,
we destroy and are destroyed.
When we receive the abundance the universe offers,
we are recreated and there is more than enough for all.
Sparked by a visit to Moorcroft Manor, Himeville in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg.
Written during a Life Revision Workshop with Jim & Heather Johnson at Beth Shalam, Pietermaritzburg, August 2010. Allen Goddard invited us to consider how our landscape intercepts with our ‘soulscape’.
I saw a tree die.
It was a gift, planted in love; a delight in the garden.
We treasured and nurtured it, loved and enjoyed it.
Its leaves danced on the branches, stirred into life by the breeze.
It was a miniature, fully grown when planted,
Providing shade to its small patch of garden;
Delighting the birds and insects that played in its space.
Then the rain stopped;
The breezes turned cold;
The leaves began to shiver in the cruel wind.
Green turned to red, then to brown, and the leaves died in the winter chill.
They fell to the ground, their summer dance forgotten.
And the tree died.
My love had failed to keep it alive;
I had watched it die, helpless, and I mourned its death.
It stood there, gaunt and lifeless; a naked skeleton;
A caricature of its former glory.
I dreaded the day I would have to dig it up; a final acknowledgement of defeat.
“When Spring comes the earth will be soft. We’ll dig it up then.”
But Spring brought the rain.
And the rain brought a miracle of life.
Life thrust through the hard soil and into the roots;
Pushed its way into the trunk and through the dead branches.
And life burst forth in a glorious display of green.
“Death is not final,” it declared. “Merely a stepping stone
While resurrection is hidden from sight.”
Death calls for faith through the winter
And patience while waiting in the cold.
For God’s gift of life is not an event, it’s a process, a circle, everlasting.
I saw a tree die?
No. I saw a tree rise to glorious life.