After a month of Advent festivities, church responsibilities and family expectations, I once again found myself earning for solitude. After a month of news of one tragic event after another, I found myself aching for silence. Sometimes nothing seems easy. Living in community, whether that be our family, our religious organization or our global community, isn’t easy. Sometimes we have to get away. We have to put our feet on the earth and marvel at the formation of a tree, or the deer in the woods, or the carving of a rock and be reminded that really life is very simple and that we make things so much more difficult than they need to be.
I told my family for a Christmas present I would like to go for a hike in the woods. I wanted to sink my boots deep into the snow, to feel the cold air on my cheeks, to hear the silence of the woods, sleeping and dormant. I wanted to be among the trees. So on Christmas Day, we bundled up and went out for a hike.
When I Am Among The Trees, from her book “Thirst” by Mary Oliver
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off each such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves,
and call out, “Stay a while.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”