“Be filled with light and shine”

When I am among the trees

Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “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.

The drooping wisteria is abuzz with bees, bright shoots have filled once bare trees, the sun thickening the air with warmth. These brighter days are strange to the weary weight of winter.

I was in conversation with someone this week about the loss we have all experienced during this unabating time. In some way, not knowing how we have changed, but knowing that something in each of us has shifted. The sense that maybe I have lost what I thought I knew: predictability, motivation, and the comfort of rituals and routines. 

As I have watched the new season ease into itself, I have wondered how we, too, may be easing into something new. Rather than losing what we once knew, we are recreating ways of being in this uneasy world.

Take a moment to be still this weekend. Be among the trees, rest in the quiet of the sun and seek out what is being recreated in you. How you spend your time, your energy, and your sense of the world. In her poem: When I am among the trees, Mary Oliver invites us to be attentive and observe. How may God be shaping you in ways you have been aware of?

May we go into this new season “easy, to be filled with light, and to shine”.

Abigail Dawson

Abigail Dawson holds a Masters in Development Studies, Sociology, from the University of Witwatersrand. Her activist and academic interests have focused on migration in a South African context. She is a qualified social worker and has provided counselling for migrant women and children. She hopes to bring change to the current public and global narrative on migration through effective and creative communication, networking and advocacy to ensure equitable communities for all people living in South Africa.

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