Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
(n.) God with us.
I conclude it from your Word,
from your gestures of the past,
when you, hands cupped, limits set, gave rise
to all that is and was, so warm and wise.
You said "living" loud and "dying" low
and ever repeated: "Be."
But there came murder before the first death
And a sharp rip went through your circles so ripe
and a loud scream ran through
and tore the voices away
which had just assembled to speak
and talk about you and carry you high,
as bridge over any abyss.
And what they have been stammering since then
are but pieces
of your former name.
-Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours
"'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' --which means, 'God with us.'" -Matthew 1:23
"How we did love trees! I am grateful that my childhood was spent in a spot where there were many trees, trees of personality, planted and tended by hands long dead, bound up with everything of joy or sorrow that visited our lives. When I have "lived with" a tree for many years it seems to me a beloved companion...
...Dear old trees! I hope they all had souls and will grow again for me on the hills of Heaven".
-Excerpts from chapter 3 of The Alpine Path
I've been reading this book, The Alpine Path, a memoir by L.M. Montgomery (I really can't seem to move past her writing). I've always loved her and felt a sense of connection with her but this book is deepening my kinship with her once more.
And oh how I miss the beloved trees and groves of my childhood! The spaces where I found a closeness to the roots of growing things. I, too, once found that my familiarity with each of the trees caused me to find relationship with them as I would with another human. I long for those spaces of connection, the treed areas I grew to love.
A part of me felt like they were made exclusively for me to enjoy. That old stump was cut down in such a way that is made the ideal seat for me to gather thoughts or spend hours sketching dreams. The two rows of trees planted just so to create an avenue for a Romantic encounter. The leaves of an elder tree, catching the golden afternoon light, casting dancing shadows on my painted paper. The seamless rows of bushes and birch trees making room for my rattling bike on the uneven path. The poplar branches so perfectly formed to place one foot on top of the other in effort to reach the top.
I delight in each of these with every moment I receive to enjoy them. My heart finds rest when I can see my old friends once again. Their whispering leaves remind me once again that I belong and that I am home.
*Photo by Cattura Imagery
If I were a writer, I would try to express the beautiful rootedness that I feel toward my homeland. But I struggle with words and finding my voice within an essay or memoir. I am thankful for a writer that so accurately describes my deepest thoughts in such an eloquent way. L.M., you once again remind me that we share a heart for the same thing.
The connection to land has yet to be found here on the west coast. And perhaps it will never be found because I find that my connection lies more with the sea. I'm becoming more familiar with its rolling waves and wild, rugged shore. The deep, dark unknown captures me. Its loneliness draws me in. The vast and mysterious hidden world beneath the water's surface allows my imagination to soar.
Trees have always reminded me of my roots, but I suppose the sea reminds me of something else...maybe a desire to be known. Or maybe it's just the reminder that there is so much more than we know or can even imagine. There is great beauty in that fact and somehow it helps to bring me peace.