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Life as a tree, and Three Dog Night

This is a celebration of you, dear friend.

As a seed.

It started softly, at first. The kernel; a world of expression, variety and innumerable changes became aware of itself. From mysterious origin, and the presence of all the right conditions, the impulse to expand and grow catalyzed the process of pushing through layers that once held safe the fullness of a being. Layers shed and layers formed; the ground moved and a sprout found nourishment of bright light. Thus starts the feeding off of external sources of power and the great forgetting of that incredible potency that began the process.

As a sapling.

Ever reaching upward to some destination and height unknown, life surges and pulls materials from the environment into the body. In curiosity and wonder the habit of self-reference became crystallized, such that knowing anything happens in relation to the position of locating it in relation to that crystallized trunk structure of "I." The roots reaching out intermingle with others and there is no shortage of threats to firm footing. One strong storm, or bitter wind reminds of the nakedness and fragility of this experience of learning to stand.

As a tree.

Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter builds a hearty veneer that hides the tender membranes of what makes life flow up and down this body. All the movement of what comes into and out of being at every solar cycle blurs into something seamless that can be recalled on the marks, warps, divots, knots, and lost limbs endured. Yet still life is happening within, around, and especially hidden beneath in the roots now firm and rich. Those connections of mutual sustenance and nourishment provide so much more than what can be garnered as a lone figure against the thin layer of atmosphere provided between here and the entirety of cosmic space. It becomes apparent that as a single entity experience has neither context nor purpose, but as a contributing member of a whole planet, forming flowers, ripening and letting go of fruit, and enriching the soil for whatever will surely follow this one life cycle is the whole of the story of "I."

It may seem odd to compare our life to a tree, but the life-affirming and celebratory spirit in every flower, blossom, fruit, and fall demonstrates perfectly the self-contained process of life that we seem to have forgotten. Luckily for us, we have the capacity to use our senses to connect with the wisdom and simplicity they offer freely. They shed leaves and drop their flowers and fruit to feed themselves and nourish not only the insects and animals that live near and around them, but also they enrich the soil for other plants, trees, and everything that will live after they are gone. Every soft and tender bud is a celebration amidst the sometimes brutal and unforgiving wilderness and unpredictability of the natural world. We, too, possess such generosity, courage, and patience. In every way, our lives are as rich and vital as these silent and beautiful teachers. Similarly, every rotten and dead thing, and every past transgression or past action is mulch that provides vital nutrients from which we are meant to learn and grow. We have to make effort to celebrate the whole of each other, deeply, in order to live full and meaningful lives. We need each other, because like Three Dog Night sang in 1969, "One is the loneliest number."


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