Refuge and Stillness

The Refuge of Trees, the Stillness of Stone

This Sunday I am going to the forest. When the outer and inner world get too noisy, this is where I go to find refuge and renewal.

The anticipation of walking quietly among the trees already brings a calm and stillness to my today. Knowing that there will be space for the senses to open up, to rest my eyes on natural beauty, to watch the trees, to listen for the birds, and hear the rustling of leaves. 

“To Be Like A Tree”
by Carrie Newcomer

See how the trees
Reach up and outward
As if their entire existence
Were an elegant gesture of prayer.
See how they welcome the breath of spirit,
In all its visible and invisible forms.
See how the roots reach downward and out,
Embracing the physical,
The body and bones
Of its soul of earth and stone,
Allowing half its life to be sheltered
in the most quiet and secret places.

Oh, if I could be more like a tree on this Sunday morning,
To feel the breath of invisible spirit
Touch me as tenderly as a kiss on the forehead.
If I could courageously and confidently
Dig down into the dark
Where the ground water runs deep,
Where shelter and sanctuary
Can be had and held.

Ah, to be like a tree
With all its bent and unbent places,
A whole and holy thing
From its topmost twigs
To the deepest taproot
To all the good and graceful
Spaces between.

~ Thank you to Parker Palmer for helping me discover these beautiful words here.


I also wanted to share a passage I hope will help you slow down a little and find peace in silence, stillness, and solitude today.

"Draw alongside the silence of stone"
by John O'Donohue

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of colour
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.

~ from "To Bless the Space Between Us"