Last weekend, my husband and I visited the Morris Arboretum, mostly because we had other business to do in Chestnut Hill and didn’t want to make the drive to only be there to run errands. We had visited once before, for a wedding (which was beautiful, of course), but didn’t see much of the grounds. This was our first real visit to explore and enjoy and experience what the sanctuary has to offer.
I use the word sanctuary because it felt like that to me. Don’t get me wrong, of course I pretended I was the Queen of Highgarden while strolling through the carefully designed gardens, pretending my life was a medley of beautiful dresses, carefully prepared feasts, audiences with highborn nobles, and clever chatter with my ladies in waiting. Of course. No nerd can walk through gardens like that and pretend anything otherwise.
But as we left the orchestrated beauty of the gardens and found ourselves in a forested area, on an unpaved path, walking downhill towards a wetland area filled with bullfrogs and turtles and what felt like every insect in Pennsylvania, the desire to make-believe fled as I was filled with a sense of harmony, completeness, and joy. I was stunned into silence by the music of organic life and earth around me, harmonizing into a chorus of complexity and completeness. Every living thing in that wetland had its place, its role, its purpose. Every living thing belonged there, and was placed there for a reason, to play its role in creating the natural music of life on earth.
Experiencing nature in such a way provides me with moments of peace and clarity, and fills me with a sense of belonging and intimacy. Just as all these insects, trees, grasses and wildlife belong, just as they each hold a place of vital importance in the harmony of the world, so do I. I am connected to each one of them, to each one of you, to every other thing in this world, in a web of love, need, solidarity, purpose, and life. Without my part in the chorus, the harmony would be missing a beautiful piece created just for me by God, that only I can perform.
We all have this role to play in the harmony of the world. We all must work to harmonize with each other, with the Earth, with those who agree with us and who disagree with us, with our loved ones and our adversaries. This living harmony is the fabric of the world, and its beauty depends on us: our thoughts, our words, our actions– our moments, each an every one of them.
Take a moment, now. Listen. Can you hear it?