Wednesday, June 6, 2012


From my living room window I watched as she stooped to pick up an acorn that had fallen from a magnificent old oak tree that shelters the community bank of mail boxes across the street from my house.  Early each morning, people stop their cars on their way to work to deposit mail and drive back in the afternoon to collect more mail.

On this particular South Texas early morning, I discovered one lady was  paying homage and reverence  to this grand one hundred foot tree that shelters nests of birds in the spring and an exotic shocking pink orchid plant  in the summer.   A straw scarecrow hung behind the mailboxes, the ground littered with small acorns. It was fall in San Antonio.  Forty five degree clear, crisp mornings, with the temperature rising to seventy five mid afternoons, are the kind of days where you don’t want to be inside and you want to celebrate after a stifling summer of sixty five one hundred degree days in a row.  

In the shelter of this tree, cars come and go, as people on their cell phones drop mail in the box and the acorns go unnoticed.  But this lady picked them up one at a time, examining each as the perfect gift it was. I had never seen her before, but in this time and place I knew all I needed to know about her.  She got it!  She understood the value and meaning of the little things and that our lives are so full, mostly of ourselves, there is little room for anything else. 

As she put a few in her pocket and continued down the street on her journey of discovery, I smiled, for her, for the splendid oak tree, its offerings and the shelter provided. Then I too picked up my outgoing mail on the dining room table and walked across the street to deposit it, but not before saying good morning and thank you to the scarecrow and the old oak tree. 

What astounds and delights people, tells us everything we need to know about human nature.  I thought about how few people actually take notice of those people and things around them that provide them sanctuary, a safe haven and refuge.  It is almost like they are constantly looking through a camera lens to keep the world at arms length.   
How sad.  For it is in those people and circumstances and places where life is found.  It is in those places where we can release our fear of helplessness and pain.  It is where we can scream out and cry and hold tight to someone who understands us and yet still loves us. 

A late night phone call from a friend alone in a hotel room reaching out, wanting to say I am alone and need you.  You understand because you have been there yourself.  There’s a place in your heart that is often empty and you are not quite sure what will fill it.  Then you hear a voice on the other end of the phone that brings meaning and purpose and a sense of peace and stillness and a place where when you hang up you can sleep. A gentle sleep where you know you are sheltered and someone ‘gets it’ and someone loves you just the way you are.

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