Cedar of Lebanon Tree planted in celebration of my parents 60th wedding anniversary
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
- Nelson Henderson
I love this quote. It captures some of the essences I have been musing upon as one decade comes to close and a new decade sits on the horizon. Much of my musings have centered around the “long arc of time” – contemplating seeds sown centuries ago which we are reaping now and pondering scenarios of generations following in our footsteps. A moment in time it is for sure in this world and on the planet. I ask myself frequently –
“So what are the few things that are mine to do, truly mine to do in the time I have to walk this beautiful earth?”
And at this time of year, I reflect on the ways I have already spent my time and ask:
“What of these activities, mindsets, and ways of understanding my place in the larger of order of things do I keep?
What ways of being, thinking, acting, living need to change?
Here in the northern hemisphere where the days are short and snow blankets the land, the inward pull of the planetary rhythm calls me back to myself to muse purposefully and deliberately on all manner of things. It is, indeed, a good time to pause, take stock and be thoughtful about the seeds I am gathering up for planting come spring.
They say it is hard for us humans to think in “long arcs” – we are good at the next week, month or year perhaps. But move the dial out five years or ten and things start getting a bit fuzzy – forget a generation or two. Yet, this is truly needed I think and when I cast my awareness back ten years and think about all that has happened in my life - the highs, the lows, the births, the deaths, the things that have changed and things that still remain – the seeds I was very specific about sowing have come to pass. Some of these were done for generations to come – like this beautiful Cedar of Lebanon tree planted on this land in honor of my parents 60th wedding anniversary. These trees live for 3,000 thousand years at least and our little cedar has taken off like a rocket. It seems to love this environment. We also thinned our forests so our Red Oak trees could seed their next generation – a tree supposed to be one of the most robust and adaptable to the climate shifts underway.
The last decade has held many gifts and I arrive at its end with deep gratitude. And questions to ponder like these:
What/who has grown or been born?
What/who has died or fallen away?
What dreams have come to fruition?
What ways of living have had to shift?
What moves me today and makes my heart sing?
What moves me today and makes my heart sad?
How will I use my time and resources in the decade that is unfolding?
What seeds are mine to sow that if I don’t plant them, they will never see the light of day?
These are some of the questions coming to me at the close of this year. I am sure you have your own. In the spirit of pause, reflection – of endings and purposeful beginnings – may you take some time on this last Sunday of the year to sit, be and wonder with me and others about this life we are all living and what we all will be growing as we come into 2020.
It is, by all accounts, a truly momentous decade before us. How will we grow our lives in service to the larger whole?