As I sit facing the east, in my quiet time with God and my tea, I see the maple tree as the sun rises each morning. She was here before me—graceful and sturdy, a beautiful paradox. My grandchildren used to climb her branches, and each autumn, they would jump in piles of her vibrant, fallen scarlet leaves, laughter filling the air. That seems like a lifetime ago. Time marches by much too quickly as the clock speeds up with each swiftly passing year.
I pick up my mug—inscribed with “A Cup Of Peace”—a gift from my friend Maggie—and see the past, the fleeting now, and the unknown future. And again, glancing out the window, words roll through my mind.
“An Ode to the Maple Tree”
I used to love you best, leafed in brilliant crimson.
I saw your radiance, the principal dancer amongst the trees,
even as the others loomed above you or
sprouted dainty flowers that
fell to the earth after too brief an appearance.
As your leaves shriveled,
some clung to you like a child wrapped around his mother’s legs.
Others ready for the new season
fell like way-lost kites
the color of the rarely used front doors—
they being forsaken for an asphalt driveway entry.
Awareness has taught me that God is in you in every season;
in your diverse and beautiful color wheel,
in your unfurling bud break,
in your summer splendor, in your falling leaves,
in your stately beauty, and
in your perfect nakedness as snow will soon begin to
cover your branches, and the world lies in the dark.
And so, we dance with life’s and nature’s cycles—
the clamoring youth and the fragile aging,
the blossoming and the declining.
We lift up those we love
and mourn those we’ve lost
as the rhythm continues
under your watchful hand, oh Maker of all.
May you live into this day fully.
May the sun shine behind the clouds.
May God bless all you love.
May you be aware always—and in all ways—of the intrinsic and glorious sacred value you have.