★ Of Wood Thrushes and Trilliums

The wood thrushes have returned, embroidering the morning soundscape with their wavering flutesong and soft rattles. Dusk is a concert of frog song. Breezes whisper through the velvet of new leaves.

In the magic seams of the forest, trilliums unfold, blue cohosh and meadow rue tremble with their clusters of small flowers, and fuzzy ferns unfurl their ancient spirals.

Everywhere the glorious work of life is underway, and it is all threaded with beauty and joy.

To be human, at least in my experience, is to bask in the utter bliss of spring, but to also feel apart from it. The work of being human––in both the daily work we carry on as individuals, and the larger work of the human community, which pushes ever forward myriad versions of evolution––feels separate from the thrushes and trilliums and ferns.

I have filled my home with dogs, currently seven. Dogs are, after all, the oldest domesticated animals, to such an extent that scientists now say we co-evolved. Curiously their needs sync with my own, so that I spend an hour in the forest nearly every day, and time engaged in play with them. It is, in fact, true that I spend more time with dogs than with humans, especially since my pug Lola is at my side, or in my lap, almost always. All this to say that I’m personally deeply entangled with our evolutionary partners. Even as I write this, there is a pug curled in my lap.

What of these thoughts, or even more viscerally, of this air I breathe, is separate from my dogs, or the wood thrushes, the trilliums, the ferns, the budding trees? We drink from the same spring, and my tongue knows in a way my mind cannot that that the water of this place has its own spiritual energy. Perhaps this feeling of separation is not part of the true matrix of life, perhaps it arises from something else, a falsehood that perpetuates itself until it is finally recognized and slowly picked away, like errant threads in a tapestry.

Then I can say, most truthfully, that I belong to my home, to the dogs dreaming around me, to the waters that spill from this mountain, to the wood thrushes, the nodding trilliums, the ferns, the old moss.

We look to our future and we are afraid of what we have done. Falsehoods perpetuate themselves and we cannot pick out the threads fast enough. The tapestry of life––will it hold?

The wood thrushes have returned. In a single night they flew across the Gulf of Mexico. They crossed a mesh of highways and smokestacks and farmland and forest, and they arrived here, to their summer home. They have carried their song across hundreds of miles, and through epics of human history, farther back then we can remember. They have arrived, and they are singing. Listen, carefully, to this song. It is not only sound, it is not only medicine. It is a part of your home, a part of you.

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