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Trust life — like the cottonwood and the squirrel

beautifulnatureOur house was built in 1981. There are two large trees in the backyard, no doubt planted at that date. One is a cottonwood -- huge, masculine, towering over our tri-level house. The cottonwood tree is rugged. It has to be. Cottonwoods are prone to damage in storms, and we get quite a few during the year.

The other tree is so close to the cottonwood they almost touch. It’s a linden tree, graceful, feminine, and verdant with the most gorgeous blossoms and leaves in the spring. I could never prove it of course, but I know the two trees are aware of each other's existence, and take comfort in their proximity to each other.

A family of squirrels inhabits these two trees. Sometimes they cross from one tree to the other in a dazzling aerobatic leap from one branch to another. Sometimes they travel by a more prosaic route, walking delicately along the top of the backyard fence like a model walking down a runway. Breakfast is around seven, when I put out peanuts at the base of the linden tree.

Of course, other creatures come for breakfast too, including a flock of blue jays. One of them is always on watch when I step out of the house in the morning with peanuts in hand, and immediately signals the rest of the family.

I call one of the squirrels "Edward." He is a friendly, sociable little creature. I know him by the way he behaves and by the fur on his front, which gleams almost white in the sun as he stands upright like a statue, front paws folded as he waits for my arrival.

Goodness. We have so many creatures in our backyard. We have a rabbit, who has been coming around ever since he was a baby. He (or she) is fairly big now, and enjoys JoAnn's bread just as much as the grass in the yard. We have flickers, and chickadees, and other kinds of birds. A large family of sparrows arrives each morning from we know not where and takes up residence in the lilac bush that grows just in front of our kitchen window.

It doesn’t seem to bother the sparrows at all when we peer at them through the kitchen window. They chatter and chirp away amongst themselves between short trips to the feeder, somewhat aware of us, I think, but unconcerned because of the glass between us.

A raven drops by every now and again for a drink or some bread. Once in awhile a fox walks casually across the yard, never to be seen again. And so it goes.

How rich and abundant is this one life that we share with trees, with animals, with each other, with the sea, with the stars. The forms come and go, of course, our own included. Even the sun dies, as I was reminded the other day when I visited Eckhart Tolle's website.

Emotions whirl. Troubled thoughts and happy thoughts rush through our lives. But the one who we truly are is not touched by any of it.

Let me be true to the truth at the core of my being just as the cottonwood and the squirrel and the linden tree are true to their truth.

Let me not deny my eternal heredity. Let me be at home in the stillness and peace of my being just as the squirrel is at home in the branches of the linden tree.

Let us trust the timeless Presence that is in us all, from whence all life comes.

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