7. Poetry and Life

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On a walk this morning I noticed a wooden sign hanging from what was left of an old tree. I know I’ve passed by this tree stump hundreds of times without ever really thinking about that sign, but this morning, for some reason, I was curious. So I stopped. And here is what it read:

“Please do not cut down the remainder of this tree. For years little children have played on it. Hopefully, enough is left.”

In an instant, my walk became a trip down the road of memory and imagination. “Which children had enjoyed that tree?” I thought. “How many, and for how long? Was there enough left of the tree to give more children pleasure?” And then my mind was taken back to my own childhood, to a time when I used to climb trees myself; I thought, too, of my son and the dogwood tree in our front yard that he’d so enjoyed as a little tyke.

For me, memories and thoughts of such simple pleasures have an awesome purity, with the power to cleanse even a mind laden with present concerns and fears. Mentally rummaging through the past and connecting the “dots of life” makes everything feel okay. And for a while, life is what it should be, a beautiful dance.

Day 7 Guide

Consider your experience and identify times when you’ve found yourself on the road to beauty. Think of the conditions necessary to arouse the thoughts of simplicity. The key here is to begin building the habit of consistently finding the beauty as you walk through life.

© 2005, Levi Hill

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