Breathing with the Trees

Genesis 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

Seeing nature fully formed is marvelous, but watching plants grow, blossom, bear fruit, and multiply brings its own delight, especially when we are agents in that process.  Being in nature brings a calm and quiet.  The pace of change is so slow and inconspicuous, no hurry or anxiety, and it soothes us into that same patient tempo.  Although we have agency in planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing, and pruning, we cannot control or empower the growth.  We must wait and watch.  It comes in its own time, encouraging hope with its consistency and patience with its imperceptible advance.

There is a biological synergy in all of creation—we breathe out carbon dioxide which plants need, and they in turn breathe out oxygen.  But there is also a spiritual synergy.  Nature acts as a reception room to heaven, creating an aura of sacred and cutting off the many human distractions.  It was in the garden that Adam walked with God in the cool of the day, and for many prayer comes more easily in the woods and fields than in church.    God is present to every place equally, but we are present to God, open to him, more fully in some spaces than others.  We need a spiritual ambience to subdue our easily distracted thoughts and subversive subconscious and to facilitate the motion of our hearts towards God.   The garden is a beautiful convergence of the life of work and prayer as they mutually support and infuse each other.   May we each find space for that sacred intersection in our own lives.

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