Nature: Empty Cage, Full Trees

It was an old episode of Andy Griffith.  Opie had accidentally killed a mother bird with his sling shot, and the ultimate karma of the show was that he took in the three baby birds and raised them.  Then, the day came when his last motherly duty was to let them fly free.  As usual, his stern but ever gentle father stood with him as he let each of the three birds go flying into the air.

Opie observed:  don’t the cage look awful empty, Pa?  To which, Andy responds:  Yeah, sho ‘nough.  But my, oh my, don’t the trees look full!

This is the cycle of life, death and new birth that nature plays out for us over and over again.  During these days of Spring, we are in the midst of those days of new birth.  Every single day I find new things budding forth, blooming, singing, buzzing, moving, sunning and otherwise coming to life.  Birds, trees, flowers, bushes, vines, frogs, snakes, bees. They’ve all heard the word:  come forth!

Six months from now, all of this will be falling to a silence.  The colors will be changing, and the movement will be slowing the dance that has seemed frenzied through Spring and Summer.  This is the karma of our life on this planet.  As we empty the cage or the nest of new life, we do experience the space, the vacuity, the loss.  That nest only empties however, to fill trees.  So, on this Spring day, I wonder:  what cages are awful empty for us right now?  It’s okay, even while the whole world around us springs forth to notice our losses, our griefs and speak them out loud.  They are awful empty.

When we do that, we might begin to notice the trees that move and sing a little more just because the cages are empty.  That’s the karma, the balance, the cycle of nature.  It’s not outside of us.  We are part of it.

Bob Patrick

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