Let the trees be consulted

Let the trees be consulted
before you take any action
every time you breathe in
thank a tree
let treeroots crack parking lots
at the world bank headquarters
let loggers be druids
specially trained and rewarded
to sacrifice trees at auspicious times
let carpenters be master artisans
let lumber be treasured like gold
let chainsaws be played like saxophones
let soldiers on maneuvers plant trees
give police and criminals
a shovel and a thousand seedlings
let businessmen carry pocketfuls of acorns
let newlyweds honeymoon in the woods
walk don’t drive
stop reading newspapers
stop writing poetry
squat under a tree
and tell stories

by John Wright (published in Earth Prayers From Around the World, 365 prayers, poems, and invocations for honoring the earth. Edited by E. Robert & E. Amidon NY: New York. HarperCollins, 1991)

For those of you who live in and around Madison, Wisconsin, I hope that you’ll check out the year long study program, Trees as Teachers: Connecting the Wisdom of Self and Nature.

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Gratitude for the Circle of Life: A Litany for Thanksgiving

There are many reasons and many ways to be thankful as we gather over this Thanksgiving holiday. I offer this litany in hopes that you and yours will join me in including the entire circle of life as we gather family and friends to share the blessings of this year’s harvest.

Gratitude for the Circle of Life: A Litany for Thanksgiving

We call upon the cosmos, the glowing, twinkling lights of sky around us, and especially our warming sun with its essential energy, and with longing for its wisdom, we ask . . .

cosmos, may we learn your ways

We call upon the earth, our planet home, with its beautiful depths and soaring heights, its vitality and abundance of life, and with longing for its wisdom, we ask . . .

earth, may we learn your ways

We call upon the open waters of our lakes, the springs and rivers that feed them, and the deep groundwater seas whose precious water we drink, and with longing for their wisdom, we ask . . .

waters, may we learn your ways

We call upon the rich soil which grows our abundant gardens and fruit-laden orchards, the fertile fields nourished by microorganisms, and with longing for its wisdom, we ask . . .

living soil, may we learn your ways

We call upon the green plants which fuel our lives with oxygen, food, and beauty; the algae of our waters, the deep rooted grasses of the prairie, the corn, beans, and squash of our gardens, the perennial parade of wildflowers, the cattails, dogwood, sumac, willow, and oak; and with longing for their wisdom, we ask . . .

green plants, may we learn your ways

We call upon the creatures, our brothers and sisters of the fields and forest, of the lake and prairie; the fox and deer, the hawk and heron, the walleye and bluegill, the rabbit and squirrel, the turtle and frog, the grasshopper and ants who share our home, and with longing for their wisdom, we ask . . .

creatures, may we learn your ways

We call upon the qualities of this season of Thanksgiving, knowing that in every moment we receive gifts of abundance from the family of life, and with hearts full of gratitude for these blessings, we pledge . . .

gratitude, we will learn your ways
gratitude, we will live your ways

Adapted by Anne Forbes from a Wild Onion Bioregional Blessing Litany by Bea Briggs
who was inspired by a Chinook Blessing Litany

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The Heart of Home

What is the center of what you experience as your home place? What is the “heart of home,” and why?

At a recent Homecomings: Your Place on Earth, Your Place in Time workshop, we explored the paradox that unfolds as we seek to balance and integrate our allegiance to both a physical and a spiritual home place. Each of us belongs to places and landscapes that nurture our bodies, minds, and spirits. We also dwell in a home place in our hearts, a private inner landscape that we carry with us everywhere we go.

My own answer to the above questions varies with my mood and the season. Here in mid-October in Wisconsin, USA, it is time to put the garden to rest, and it is one of my favorite times of year. I love it more than planting in the spring. Thus, the heart of my home place is most certainly in my back yard. But wait, the heart of home is also within me. Each shovel of dirt moved, each twist of herb dried, each spent plant tossed to the compost, each bee at the fading fall asters – each one feeds a place of wonder and awareness that I carry in my heart everywhere I go.

In this moment, What is the center of what you experience as your home place?  What is the “heart of home,” and why? Please join in the conversation by sharing your thoughts below. Over time, I’ll pose more Homecomings questions and hope that you find a “home away from home” as we share and learn together.

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