I wish a younger me could go back and wander among the trees, knowing what I’ve learned from this Musing…

Expand full comment

This seems so perfect:

Choctaw elder and retired Episcopal bishop Steven Charleston

For all the great thoughts I have read

For all the deep books I have studied

None has brought me nearer to Spirit

Than a walk beneath shimmering leaves

Golden red with the fire of autumn

When the air is crisp

And the sun a pale eye, watching.

I am a scholar of the senses

A theologian of the tangible.

Spirit touches me and I touch Spirit

Each time I lift a leaf from my path

A thin flake of fire golden red

Still warm from the breath that made it.

Takes my breath away.

Expand full comment

My version of Psalm 1:

Psalm 1 - Giving Life

In all they do, they give life!

Life – in all its abundance

Life – with all its joy and gladness

Life – not forgetting the times of gloom.

But giving life emanates from receiving Life.

As water permeates roots

rising to branches

enlivening leaves

producing fruit of all kind

So Life comes from the Word –

and the word –

murmuring, memorising, meditating

so it becomes part of you

reaching into your furtherest joints

allowing you to share life with the Word.

Being a new creation

Living in grace

Embracing forgiveness & justice

Receiving Life to give life

The Word becomes alive

Through the life we live

and the life we give

Illusions fade,

Life generates life.

© Peter Bean

Expand full comment

Thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection on Psalm 1 and its connection to the teachings of Matthew 22. The metaphor of trees and the "wood-wide web" is indeed a profound way to understand the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of community, both in nature and in our spiritual journey. The idea that the people of God are like trees, deeply rooted and interdependent, is a powerful message that resonates with the themes of love, community, and righteousness. It's a reminder of the sacred mystery that underlies our existence and our connection to the divine. Your interpretation adds depth to the understanding of these verses.

Expand full comment

This was a drink of cool water to a parched soul. Thank you so kindly for helping us grow.

Expand full comment

Thank you Diana for this beautiful essey on Trees and a new take on Ps. 1. I too read it much differently when I was younger. I'm so glad you brought in the science today that shows us how trees communicate. The idea that we are on a journey and we have rootedness is just a great idea. Thank you sharing John O Donahue's poem. Mary Olivers poem about trees is my favorite. WE need poets to help us slow on and really listen.

Expand full comment

Trees have a special meaning to us as we have planted over 1,000 of them on our farm in southern MN during the past 3 years. In Climate Land Leaders we have learned that one of the best things anyone can do to help alleviate the climate crisis is to plant trees. Trees hold soil in place, draw water deep into the earth, provide shade, reduce wind, slow drops of rain as they fall to the ground, and provide homes for birds and animals, to say nothing of being a source of fruit, nuts and endless beauty. Trees are an endless gift. I am grateful for your focus on Psalm 1.

Expand full comment

“Psalm 1 doesn’t have two metaphors — it has a single metaphor with two images.

Don’t sit with sinners and scoffers. Their counsel cuts you off from that which nourishes the soul. But the rootedness of trees? Look to them. The people of God are like that. The living word creates a living wood. The law draws us into a sacred ecosystem, “the way of the righteous,” where abundance and justice flourish.”

Our sunroom looks out into a ravine full of trees - and each morning I sit and watch the ever-constant, ever-changing ‘tree world’ - they sit in silence, unmoving; they sway to different gusts of wind; some branches are bare and some are weighted down with foliage; and now, in late October, they are painted red and yellow and gold and green. And I am nourished.

So today, Diana, having this psalm and the science of tree roots creating a web of vital living, I sense the abundance and the sacredness of prosperity singing through the trees, the stream and the breath of the wind.

As I often do, I looked up the meaning of wicked and synonyms - and two stood out or me as unique meanings - uncomfortable and miserable… so I add to my own understanding of wicked - seen as affecting others; to wicked creating discomfort and misery for those who sin and scoff - and I wonder what bridges might reach across the divide…….

Expand full comment

“Sinners and scoffers” are also people of God. We ALL come from the Creator and are loved.

Expand full comment

Beautiful reflection, Diana! Thank you so much! I look forward to your weekly inspiration.

Expand full comment

Oh, Diana—I needed to hear this good woody word today. With the pain of the world just now—internationally and more local—your reminders of this path is water to my soul. Grateful!

Expand full comment

And their wars are very long and subtle. Our neighbor’s pin oak has been chasing our silver maple for twenty five years as it keeps leaning toward our house. We should have cut it down earlier, but it is our daughter’s “tomato tree.” As a seed fell into the barrier for her tomato plant and grew. We just never had the heart to cut it down. Every storm, I pray our lovely trees don’t fall on our house. Nature.

Expand full comment

I love the trees in Madison, especially the ones by Lake Mendota. They are very tall and remind me of my youth when I grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin. (I missed them when I lived in Santa Barbara.)

Thanks for the metaphors - sacred mystery!

Expand full comment

You took me home today. I grew up in West Virginia with its hardwood forests, sparkling cold spring, Boston ferns and more. As a child I would go into a forested area sit, observe, and know God intimately. This was my true church. Long before I read Wohlleben's article I knew this amazing connect from tree to tree. Not in a scientific way but more spiritual. If one stays overtime you witness the young trees striving for air and light amidst the green canopy above. The mature trees will gradually give room for the young and the old will fall to give rotting nourishment for all. These trees seemed to me God's creation as it was designated to be. Thank you Diane for this slightly different metaphor meaning. I went home and was nourished.

Expand full comment
Oct 29Liked by Diana Butler Bass

I'm beginning to see, with a mixture of emotions, after a million years of being a Christian, that there is soooooooo. much. more. ........ "The journey is the place, and the place is as fluid as the stream."

P. S. Thank you for referencing The Hidden Life of Trees!!!

Expand full comment

I know the guide line about only posting once but while the choir was singing the psalm of the day which was different from 1 I was trying to find it in the psalter and instead came across 92:11 and following. "The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God;" and 13 (I especially like) "They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be green and succulent;," and following verses are also relevant but these particularly stood out with postings, talks, experience. our interconnectedness with trees, and each other.

Expand full comment