Monday, January 24, 2011

The Curve of a Feather

As I walked I was overwhelmed with wonder in the curve of a feather. At the end of the pond was my friend the Great Blue Heron who I see there often. He sat in the morning sun and frigid air with his feathers fluffed up for warmth. I stopped to greet him. The light of the sun caught the spray of feathers that extended from his chest, the feathers lit such that I could see each one individually. I looked at his colors and beauty and design so perfect for him and my heart swelled with joy and wonder (literally I felt like the Grinch with my heart growing three sizes). How beautiful!

I thought of the feathers on other birds I have seen and all their amazing array of colors and sizes, all serving a purpose for that bird. I thought of the different kinds of trees and how each one has a different leaf and different bark, a different way to reach for the sky. I thought about the flowers! There exists in the world such an enormous variety of flowers! Each with different petals and colors, leaves and stems. And what of all the creatures, I thought, those that crawl or run or swim or slither, with scales or skin or fur? Each of these plants, birds and animals with all they need to serve life, to live and thrive and create more life in one form or another. What a wonder that there is such immense splendor and diversity!

I was overwhelmed with joy as a stood there basking in the reflected beauty of the heron. I was filled with gratitude to have that small moment of wonder and to see the threads of life all around me as they stretched out across the earth and into the vastness of the Universe and all its mystery and majesty. What an amazing gift, I thought, to be able to be here in this moment and witness the beauty of creation in the curve of a single feather.

In Gratitude to the Great Blue

Blame Ends with Me

For Christina Taylor Green

We teach them to share. We teach them to be kind, their right from their left, play nicely, use good manners, it’s not polite to point, take turns. We teach them to take responsibility. We teach them the golden rule; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Unless the others are not like you. Unless they don’t vote like you do. Unless their skin is a different color than yours. Unless they pray differently than you. Unless they live across some imaginary border from you. Unless they don’t agree with you. Unless…

We redefine right and left, until it becomes right and wrong. Pointing, pointing, pointing at who is to blame. Did you ever notice the word blame ends with me?

I am to blame. For every choice I made that did not honor what I teach my children. For every choice not made from love. For every time I didn’t share or play nicely with others. For every time I judged based on color or creed or doctrine. For every time I was impolite. For every time I didn’t wait my turn. For every time I dodged my responsibility for my choices. For every time I was unkind. For every time I forgot that left and right were just directions, not divisions.

For each and every time, my child, I apologize. I should have known better. I should have behaved better. From the deepest place in my heart, from the deepest part of my connection to all humanity, I am sorry that I didn’t behave more like you. I’m sorry I didn’t choose from the heart of the child, so that you could live today, now, in a world of peace. I will choose more wisely from this day forth. I will make choices that I know will one day lead to a world you will be proud to call home. You have my word - if you will still take the word of an adult.

January 9, 2011