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When I Am Among The Trees

When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines, they give off such a hint of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.” The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you, too, have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.” (Mary Oliver)

This poem immediately caught my attention in the welcome booklet of an extended retreat hosted by Ignatius House (the trees in this photo are on the property), of which I returned this past week. It seemed the Holy Spirit was inviting me to look up every day and notice how the leaves danced. And the question came ever so gently, “Why am I so distant from this gladness and hope of myself?” So this became my discovery of the next 5 days. The slow, uninterrupted time was a gift, unlocking hidden parts, hidden memories and seeing God in them, imperfection and all.

Do you have a desire to go easy? Walk slowly for a day? Discover the goodness in you and the world? I invite you to retreat. Check out my retreat offerings at

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