I spent the Friday before Valentine's Day in a classroom of kindergartners with my grandson. I had cut out each of their handprints to open as though they were holding a heart and had come to help make Valentines. Show and tell is the first thing they do from their 'circle' sitting together cross-legged on the floor in much the same fashion as our ancestors would have before a fire.
They are amazingly attentive as one after the other it is their time to speak. Some are loud and boisterous, some are timid, quiet and shy- all are too beautiful for words. The letter for show and tell was 'S' this week. As they finished, I was lead to also 'show and tell' so I raised my hand and asked the teacher if I might.
Since surgery last summer, I walk with a 'stick'. Not your typical cane - fashioned from the branches of a tree where two branches once met, sometimes kids I don't know look at me curiously in the hallways as if I might turn them into a toad or shoot lightning bolts like someone from Hogworts! :)
One young man around Halloween, stopped, looking me up and down quite seriously. I realized it was my 'stick' he was looking at, and so I said 'It's just a stick' to which he replied 'ooooooo Spooky!'. I smiled really big and off he went!! but anyway...Since tomorrow is my birthday (and Fred's in just a few days) I want to speak of 'gifts' and ask you to participate in giving Fred and I (and the whole world) one. Indulge me, if only for a few moments.
So I raised my hand and asked if I might tell the story of 'my stick' ...
When I was a little girl my grandparents had a lovely and very large tree in their backyard. I would lay under that tree in the sunshine when I was happy and watch the rays of Light come through the branches. I would watch birds and bumblebees and bugs and dreams would wash over me. Later, as an adolescent, the tree would comfort me as I lay beneath it and cried over a lost friend or a lost love.
When my grandfather passed, and my grandmother could no longer stay in the house alone my young family moved into the home. Our daughters had a swing in the tree and laughed, played and grew strong beneath her branches. As time went on, we outgrew the old house but before we could sell it, it was necessary to trim my long beloved tree.
As a Cherokee gentleman swung from her branches, chainsaw in hand, my husband watched from below and then assisted in the cleanup. Unbeknownst to me, one of her branches caught his eye and he set it aside. Later as he puttered in the garage, he worked on stripping the bark, removing each smaller branch and leaving just a little where each even smaller branch had once grown. He sanded and finished what would become a lovely walking stick with a perfect handle where the largest branches had once met at the perfect angle.
I knew nothing of this until he presented the 'stick' to me. I didn't need a 'walking stick' back then, but I loved the stick. It walked with me in Montana, Colorado, Idaho and on every trek in the woods taken in the last 20 years or so. So much a favorite of my grandson now, that he has had to have 'Papa' make him a stick of his own.
Fast forward to the present-where I need the 'stick' more than ever. And so I shared her story. Grandfather, the tree, my husband, and me...
I explained to the children it is so special because it is a gift of Love. First the gift of my grandparents and all that they have taught me. Later the gift of the Tree herself and the memories of time spent beneath her branches. Then all the days my children grew beneath her and finally, the Love of a man that has known (sometimes even before I do) what I really need.
Each time I hold that 'stick' in my hands, I am reminded of all the wonderful gifts I have received.
So now I ask this of you-
For my birthday, which is no less important than any of yours, and for Fred's as well, do the work today. Your work, whatever that may be. Send Loving, Peaceful energy out into and through it in every direction. Send it to all the corners of the world where there has been unrest. Send it to every child that went without breakfast today. To every elder and ancestor that has been forgotten. To every world leader who holds others lives in their hands today. Send it so that we all might remember.
Surrounded by gifts in even what can seem like our darkest hours, we are the Light that can illuminate everything in our world. Give of your gifts and you receive abundantly from life in return, even as you do.
God bless you more and more on your birthday Fred, for what your work has afforded each of us to give. Bless each of you as well, and every 'branch of your tree'. Move through this world grounded and nurtured through our roots and expanding and ascending through our branches toward the Light.
they say it's your birthday, it's my birthday too yeah!!
we're gonna have a good time.... one(great)song teehee