An oak bends and rises just off the north corner of my back deck. A graceful genuflect. Or perhaps a forced position. Word has it this may be a Signal Tree of the sort sculpted by Native Americans or later settlers to mark the way. This one points to the river valley.
Looking at that guiding tree reminds me that my individual direction and our human destiny is indivisible from Earth. Thus, we are well served to enjoy time with Her. To observe and listen to Her wisdom, Her signs and signals. To find our way in harmony with Her.
You can read more about Signal Trees and the effort to document them here.
I love how redbuds (cercis canadensis) and oaks share common ground. One prefers the protection of understory living, the other dares to stretch and dominate the forest heights. Their cooperative difference delights the eye in the first full weeks of spring, when the redbuds burst into their glory, while the oaks still prepare their own leafing out overhead.
I used to believe that devotion to a shared vision was enough to unite individuals on common ground. But Life has taught me differently. Common ground of heart is what endures. it is the vital terra firma from which shared visions grow, health blossoms, hardships are traversed and lived dreams flourish.
Beautiful and life-sourcing, the heart’s common ground demands our fullest. The fullest of faith in ourselves and each other, along with humility, willingness, and caring embrace. Like nutrient-rich garden soil, common ground requires enduring attention and cultivation. Cultivation through full listening. Through offering and accepting gifts of hard truths wrapped in compassion. Celebrating simple joys. Risking change. I’m certain you could add to this list, drawing on your own trusted bag of tools applied in the common ground of your relationships and responsibilities.
Going alone is sometimes necessary. Often the perfect choice. With its own challenges and benefits. Yet the redbuds and oaks remind me that tending the heart’s common ground is worth the risk, the effort and the reward.