[The Devil’s Gift is on a hiatus until next Sunday. Here’s a repost from March 22, 2020. You’re welcome to leave a comment.]
* * *
I let the cat out this morning. She never bolts out the door. She ponders the risk. Twitches her tail, once, twice, and again. Moves one foot forward. Then another. And finally scurries out and settles quickly under the bird feeder hanging from a low branch.
The birds above fall silent, ponder her presence. She crouches, ready to fly up the tree. The birds calculate the risk and restart their song. They have wings even though they don’t know it.
In other trees the birds are merrily chirping. The grass is greening and soon will need mowing. Cut down but not for long. Each blade will rise again, stretching toward the sun.
The soil is warming. Worms are squirming. No one has to tell them the early bird is out to catch them. Still, they can’t sleep in. No one told them that’s an option. They can’t shelter in place. They have things to do and places to go.
The cat’s out.
The birds chirp.
The worms squirm.
The sun rises.
It will shine on the righteous and the wicked today. It can’t discriminate. Doesn’t know how. Never has. I know this but seldom acknowledge it. Today I press my hands together in front of my heart and bow.
The ash trees in my woods are dying. They don’t know what’s eating them. They don’t know a pest has doomed them. They don’t know a chainsaw is coming.
Their branches are bare. Leaf buds show their faces. They don’t know their predecessors lie dead on the ground beneath them. They don’t know the past; can’t dwell on it. All they know is this moment, this chance to be alive. To be here now, even as they become something else.
The birds gather on those sickly branches and chant. Birds can’t see the future. Dread is unknown. They sing in this moment, in this place. It’s all they know, if they know even that. Birds are born Buddhists.
A friend told me you can see God under a leaf. I don’t know about that. I don’t know that God is even God like that.
But I know the sacred. It’s in all things. There’s no one name for it. It asks for nothing but reverence. And gratitude.
I told my friend, if you can’t see the sacred in a leaf, there’s no use looking under it.