Parker J. Palmer writes: 

On Monday afternoon, a storm darkened the skies over my part of Wisconsin, bringing wind gusts up to 70 mph. A lot of big dead branches came down in my neighborhood, and a few large tree trunks were split clear to the ground. No one was injured but the mess was widespread, and lots of folks pitched in to help clean it up, as good neighbors do.

On Wednesday we had blue skies and a refreshing breeze, so I went out to spend time “among the trees.” It was lovely to see the heavily-leafed branches dance, bending and bowing in the wind to what people used to call “the silent music of the spheres.” I felt grateful for the “pruning” the winds had done on Monday. That storm had taken down so many brittle, rotten, and dead limbs, limbs that might have done real damage.

Storm winds are blowing thru American democracy right now, trying to prune a lot of rotten dead wood from this democracy's still-living core. In the process, we are learning more about all that is death-dealing in our culture, economics, and politics: greed, the unprincipled lust for power, white supremacy, domestic terrorism. We need to bring it all down, ridding ourselves of rot and clearing the way for new life in every sector of our nation, as good neighbors would do... 

Mary Oliver, speaking of what the trees have to teach us, writes: “…it’s simple,” they say / “and you too have come / into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled / with light, and to shine.”

Memo to Self: Help shine the light of truth on the rot that’s being revealed so more people can see the profound dangers under which we live until we prune it away. Then shine that light on the strong core that remains, and all the living potentials it still contains, so we can grow a country where everyone can go easy under the trees.

Parker J. Palmer