I have an assignment from a teacher-- go into the natural world, present your gifts to the world and see what you get back. Rather than clocking miles this evening, I decided to wander. In the spirit of the exercise, I walked to the field and let the dogs off lead. Their joy jumped up a notch. We followed the mowed edge and the dogs would race ahead and race back to me, tongues lolling, doggy smiles.
I stopped at the feet of an ancient willow tree. The rough and scarred trunk is solid amongst a tangle of vines and brambles. I don't know how to "give" a tree something, and I am not really sure what my gifts are yet. The willow had a lesson for me.... Strong roots and a solid trunk, vines and brambles appear to be choking it, but in fact the trunk is strong enough to hold up itself and also lend a firm foundation for the others to climb and grow. Above the gnarled trunk, the branches of the willow reach up and then bend back to the earth, they dance on the breeze, bending and waving. Willows are known for deep and strong roots, and supple boughs.