The natural life

Daily Reading for June 26

I took my coffee out to the porch this morning, putting on my glasses first in case a bird should drop by the birdbath. Instead, a butterfly floated onto the butterfly bush. I have deprived myself of butterflies, I thought sadly. All my life they’ve been dancing in the air, and I’ve had my nose stuck in a book. Even now, I’d be reading the New York Times except that it didn’t come.

Beyond the butterfly bush is a holly tree, higher than the house. Roots, I thought. It has its roots in the earth. The earth holds it stable and straight and strong, the earth feeds it, rain comes to its roots through the earth.

Or is the natural life more like the visible part of the tree? Rooted and grounded secretly, it spreads strong branches on the supporting air, answers sun and rain and wind, embraces in its large courtesy the other lives of birds and butterflies, squirrels and chipmunks and little bright-backed bugs.

Either, or neither, or both. The whole tree lives by the life of God.

And I, planted to grow into a perfect nature, deep and tall and spreading, stunt my branches and wither my roots with malnutrition. In the midst of plenty, I’d rather read a book.

From The Quantity of a Hazelnut by Fae Malania. Copyright © 2005 by Seabury Books, an imprint of Church Publishing. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

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