Being Trees in Autumn

These trees in Buddhist saffron robes,
renouncing everything,
becoming naked without fear,
in wind that is a part of them,
disclose a beauty in this death,
become new shapes, interior.
To live they cannot hoard;
this losing, too, is growth.
New shapes emerge, new vision clears.
Surrender strengthens in the soul
another song.
This emptying is confidence
in spring, but more – a faithing
in the growth that’s come before,
a counting of the gifts
and then releasing one by one,
so as to give again,
knowing growth is not a season,
but is at the root of things.
This is no losing,
but a becoming.
Covering such openness
of limb and heart and hand,
such bareness in the singing,
I only now discover that I want
this wind, blowing where it will,
within.

(By Stephen Garnaas-Holmes, published in Weavings, 2010. Many thanks to Cathedral parishioner Adele Wakefield who brought this poem to my attention! Image by Lin Shun).

For reflection in solitude or in the company of others: As you are led, experiment with drawing, painting (or any other favorite creative approach) to the images the poet presents in this work. You might want to look outside your window for inspiration! Pay attention to the details to which you are attracted — are the branches firm and sturdy, or light and flexible? How deep are the roots? Is there any place in your drawing (or painting or other creative work) for the unseen wind, or the spring-time promise? How does the poet’s extended metaphor resonate with your life and prayer right now? If you prefer writing or journaling to drawing and painting, take a look at the trees described in Psalm 1. How are the psalmist’s trees similar to the poet’s? How are they different?

Cathedral of the Incarnation