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update on the hopeful oak

Last spring I noticed a sprig of an oak growing up among the bushes beneath the window box a few feet from my front door. During the fall I watched from day to day as oak let go of each of the twelve leaves that oak had grown, clinging to the final three and then the final one well into the cold days of December. I wrote about that hopeful oak last fall. I wrote: “I’m curious to see how the oak winters. Is there vitality enough to weather through till spring? How deep and broad-reaching are the hopeful oak’s roots?”

Now it is spring again, and the hopeful oak has triple the sprigs and the beginnings of more leaves than I suspect I’ll count this year.

An oak has wintered well. It’s a small thing. There are trillions of other trees. And there is a variety of awe and responsibility that comes from reflecting on that, on the grandiose, on life at a global scale. But another sort of wonder and immediacy stirs in me from the relationship I have with this particular instance of vitality.

In the ongoing overwhelm of realities that deserve a portion of our attention, may we also tend to the intimate, to the particular, to the relationships that inspire our practice of rooting deep, for the sake of reaching out.

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