It was one year ago today that we brought Tilly home to join the family. The picture above was taken on that first day, when she was eight weeks old. Happy Anniversary, Little Bit!
This "Tree Child" is posted in memorium for my friend Kenneth Ashburner: scientist, writer, and musician; a leading authority on birch and alder trees; and the creator, with his wife June, of the beautiful Mythic Gardens on the outskirts of our village. He grew a bit of magic in the hills of Devon, and will be deeply missed. A memorial celebration is being held in Kenneth's birch and alder aboretum today; and a charity is being formed to keep the arboretum, seed collection, and Mythic Garden going.
When I was 15, I sat in despair one day in a creaky old bus that was winding its way through central Mexico (that's another story), trying to decide if I truly believed in God. Not necessarily God with a big white beard looking down from a Biblical heaven, but some kind of sacred spirit above, beneath, and within all things. I'd aways had a deep, instinctive faith (even as a small child) in a sacred dimension to life, a Mystery I didn't need to fully define in order to know it, feel it, experience it. But recent grueling events had shaken my faith and closed that connection.
I realize that sitting and railing at God is a perfect cliche of teenage angst -- but that doesn't make the experience any less urgent at age 15, and I was in a dark place. "Okay," I said, throwing the gauntlet down to whatever out there might be listening, "if there is something more than this, then prove it. Just prove it. Or I quit." The bus turned a corner on the narrow, dusty road, and a gasp went up from the people around me. Above us, a rainbow arched through a bright blue, cloudless, rainless desert sky.
Rainbows have been special to me ever since. I know the scientific explanation, of course, water and air and angles of sunlight and all that. But to me, they are always a message. They say: "The universe is a Mystery and you're part of it." And sometimes that's all I need to hear; that's all the answer I need, no matter what the prayer.
truly artistic than to love people." - Vincent van Gogh
(One of my very favorite quotes, and so true.)