Evergreen, ever new.
Light and life return.
The dark and cold of winter become the warmth and light of summer. Autumn becomes winter, winter becomes spring, spring becomes summer.
Experience now the beauty of the cycle, the power of the rhythm.
We are in the passageway from autumn to winter, light to dark, returning to light, the passing of the old year and the arising of the new, and yet old and new are merely labels that we apply to a rhythm that knows no old and new, no beginning and no end. It knows only itself, arising and becoming and passing, eternally.
Life is always in the process of renewing itself. And in that fact there is great hope.
Summer, winter, spring and fall, the evergreen remains constant. In that constancy there is sacredness. There is no thing in life that is unchanging. Change is the nature of all that is. The evergreens too lose their needles, sprout new green growth, the pine cones fall to the ground, the tall trees are struck by lightning. The evergreen like every life form is subject to death and disease. And yet among the evergreens are many ancient ones that have stood century after century, as sentinel, as witness, firm and strong. The spirit of the evergreen is close and intimate with the spirit of the rock and of the mountain. All of these give strength and teach us how to stand firm, to hold our center.
Perhaps this season you are decorating a tree, an evergreen. Take time to honor it, to experience it as life renewing itself. If possible, let it be a live tree and plant it later. Then you experience that renewal directly. You do not take from the earth. You give to it.
If that is not possible, buy a tree that has been raised on a farm and would have been cut down anyway, and honor it. Give its life and death meaning by recognizing its sacred nature. Its spirit lingers, and will enliven the tree as long as it is with you. Give it water, and love it, and it will love you. Children especially will feel the difference, how the tree you have bought is happier if you sing to it, honor it, and love it. Then take it back to the forest when you are done, if at all possible, and return it to the earth.
If you live in a place where the evergreens grow, take time around the solstice to go to the forest and walk among the evergreens, to feel the presence of the ancient ones, the rhythm of life, the constant renewal. At the solstice the light is becoming dark and the dark is becoming light. This rhythm is a constant, an underlying presence in your life from year to year. There are presences in this world that abide, not forever, but for a very long time. In their abiding they offer their strength and their wisdom to those people who choose to stop and honor and enjoy the presence of spirit. The evergreens can give you this experience.
At this season, may the spirit of the evergreen bless you. May you be touched by the presence of spirit, in your heart and in your home.
May all beings be happy, peaceful and free of suffering.
Glorieta, New Mexico
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November 2005 - What Can We Do?
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