The trees in the back yard of Chiara House are getting old. This realization came early today when I took Mo for his morning walk. While we were in Birch Bay the top of the second oldest Ponderosa pine blew off in what must have been a powerful wind. Or maybe not. It could have been simply age, or those pine beetles.

Getting Old
But this morning I could also see that the oaks don't look well either. The hot sun of August dried and curled their leaves. There will be no brilliant October color this year.


Even the memorial King Maple, young as it is--only four years since John died and I had it planted--seems to be withering with leaves that curled before they grew large like a life beginning early to die. I stood and looked at it for a long time, remembering that last night I dreamed of him, spindly as his tree, and I asked him if he thought he was near death, because it seemed to me in the dream that he'd withered. Dry branches. Dry bones. Ezekiel comes to mind. T. S. Eliot's "Ash Wednesday" comes to mind.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert.

New Walnuts
In a variety of word forms the wise have told us that what we see outside is what we hold within. I also see, now that the sun has risen and I am looking towards the front yard rather than towards the back, that the walnut tree looks amazing in this first year of its production of enough walnuts for us to crack open during a holiday evening in front of the fire. And the three Leland Cypress, planted as seedlings ten years ago, now tower.

The world we see is the world we are. The more complex I am the more paradox I see. When at last I might become simple and wise with age or the contradictions of moments piled on moments throughout the days, who knows what I might see? Will all of this be One in the Great Circle of Being I speak of but only vaguely understand?

As I continued on around the back yard this morning with Mo who was busily taking in each scent of night visitors from the woods, I had a momentary flash of wondering if I were here at all, or if what I seem to be--a rather old woman walking her little dog--was nothing but a breath of universal Being; if what I call myself is, as many have said, a momentary dream of what we call God. A Divine Dream that like our human dreams does not diminish what is, but rather reveals the length, height and depth of the Dreamer.


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