As I prepare to lift off for a new experience in the tropical wonderland of Bali, I am celebrating and appreciating both my parents who decided to take the leap too. They accepted my invite to participate in the retreat I’ll be co-leading there – Soulful Relating Through Song and Dance. It’s truly a leap for them at every level, and their courage is inspiring. I’m really looking forward to this time with them and with everyone in the group – reflecting on the ways we connect to our self, our soul and spirit… to others and the outside world as a whole.
Gratitude is one of the most direct routes I know of to that sweet spot of connection, and it’s the key ingredient in my annual holiday poem hunting for family members. Honestly, the tradition has given way to a (ahem) more fluid and unpredictable timeline – the poems come when the muse stikes and I make enough space in my crazy life. This year, one made it out on time- my splash around the big pool of Thank You to Mom.
The Leaf and the Tree
I knew of a great tree,
standing within a great forest.
Great, not for anything but being as it was
a natural climber that sought the sun.
She was one of a million sisters, brothers there
making life among life
Raised by the sky that brought food and storm.
She grew strong, like the others—
shapely, positioned on a high slope on a clearing,
more strongly sown than some perhaps, for the exposure and angle of her roots.
She spoke in slow stretches of bark, making leaves as fruit.
She became my tree.
I would come and go, connected to her in grateful, silent ways
though my days and purpose were different, moving—
I spent hours against her trunk yet I could not tell you her true story.
I spoke another, noisier language,
seeing from behind my own reachings.
I wondered how it was for her,
if I had come to serve her, or she me,
if she saw herself reflected in my shiny, watchful face.
She saw me surely,
tended me generously, being tree as she was,
sheltered me as she knew well to do,
with no instruction but her forest and seed.
I saw her from my own eyes, alone among that forest
not knowing if she knew
that my very presence was testament to how she lived
her roots unfurled, giving thanks to her sky.