Try as we might to find common ground with those so unlike ourselves, it is the differences we focus on despite our efforts to understand and befriend. Whether it is cranky politicians sparring in the headlines, or the perpetual struggle between weak and strong, we miss seeing Creation’s intended balance all around us.
We can dwell compatibly, lion and lamb, without one becoming a meal for the other. Indeed, prey transforms the predator.
Even the barbed and bloody thistle releases its seeds in the cushion of thistledown, drifting gently where the wind will take it next, at once forgiven for the scars it inflicted.
May I strive to be comforting rather than prickly, healing rather than inflicting, wherever I may land.
The snow piles in dark places are gone. Pools by the railroad tracks shine clear. The gravel of all shallow places shines. A white pigeon reels and somersaults.
Frogs plutter and squdge—and frogs beat the air with a recurring thin steel sliver of melody. Crows go in fives and tens; they march their black feathers past a blue pool; they celebrate an old festival. A spider is trying his webs, a pink bug sits on my hand washing his forelegs. I might ask: Who are these people? ~Carl Sandburg “Just Before April Came”
There are no creatures you cannot love. A frog calling at God From the moon-filled ditch As you stand on the country road in the June night. The sound is enough to make the stars weep With happiness. In the morning the landscape green Is lifted off the ground by the scent of grass. The day is carried across its hours Without any effort by the shining insects That are living their secret lives. The space between the prairie horizons Makes us ache with its beauty. Cottonwood leaves click in an ancient tongue To the farthest cold dark in the universe. The cottonwood also talks to you Of breeze and speckled sunlight. You are at home in these great empty places along with red-wing blackbirds and sloughs. You are comfortable in this spot so full of grace and being that it sparkles like jewels spilled on water. ~Tom Hennen “A Country Overlooked”
It is simply too easy to think of others as “those people” — they are not like me, they don’t dress like me, they don’t look like me, they don’t talk like me, they don’t love like me, they don’t act like me, they just aren’t me in any recognizable way.
Yet I’m the blinded one who cannot see how similar we are.
Whether I have eight legs or two, whether I have wings or arms, whether I “plutter and squdge” or sing arias, whether I am green or brown or speckled, there is no creature I cannot love as brother or sister.
Instead of wondering “who are these people?” I will be comfortable in this spot in the spectrum of life I’m been given, in an act so full of grace and being.