imageA Walk Among Giants

There are days that appall and slap you into a dead stop. I had days like that in Manilla just a couple weeks ago. Just horrifyingly sordid and evil.

But there are other days that catch you off guard with the holiness and splendor. Today I had a chance to walk amongst the giants of Muir Woods, and I am all the better for it.

When we first arrived I was more than a little worried that the Californians had Disneyfied one of the holiest of places on the planet. Masses, boardwalks, gift shops, and wood fencing segregated the interlopers from the forest. But the deeper and deeper we journeyed into the heart of the red woods the more I noticed that the boardwalks were evaporating. And a little further in I began to notice the fences had disappeared somewhere along the line. But somewhere around mile 3 or 4 we turned off the path more taken, and found ourselves mostly alone with giants.

It’s hard to explain the majesty and awesomeness of a single copse of redwoods. They are pointed arch vaults, flying buttresses, ornamented branch tracery, and stain glass prisms of sun flares in elegant perfection.

I’ve had the opportunity to see many of the world’s great cathedrals – he National Cathedral in Washington D.C., Notre Dame in Paris, St. Paul’s in London, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and many lesser known as well – and I think I would rather frequent the hollows of the Muir Cathedrals than to any man made edifice.

Which brings me to this poem by Mark Nepo that nails my sentiments to a T.
Masters of stillness,
masters of light,
who, when cut by something
falling, go nowhere and heal,
teach me this nowhere,

who, when falling themselves,
simply wait to root
in another direction,
teach me this falling.

Four hundred year old trees,
who draw aliveness from the earth
like smoke from the heart of God,
we come, not knowing
you will hush our little want
to be big;

we come, not knowing
that all the work is so much
busyness of mind; all
the worry, so much
busyness of heart.

As the sun warms anything near,
being warms everything still
and the great still things
that outlast us

make us crack
like leaves of laurel
releasing a fragrance
that has always been.

—-

My only wish would be that I could carry this reverent stillness… this otherworldly perspective that sees things in their fullness of time. To see things in a perspective that says, there is a bigger purpose, and a bigger directive. To see things, and particularly others, as intrinsically valuable creations that have their place, and have their time. I wish I could see life as a purposeful journey with a larger vision that extends well beyond my time here on earth. To see life as God sees it.

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