lone oak tree



“Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow—all come and go like the wind.  To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.”

—the Buddha

“He (the American Indian) believes profoundly in silence—the sign of a perfect equilibrium.  Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit.  The man who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence—not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the surface of shining pool—his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life.  If you ask him: “What is silence?” he will answer: “It is the Great Mystery!” “The holy silence is His voice.”

—Ohiyesa, “A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom”, Whitall N. Perry


driving through central California
the sight of this solitary oak tree
made me stop for awhile
something about its serenity
something about it being able to provide shade from the heat of life
something about it being able to provide shelter and food to birds and insects
something about its spreading shape, its open arms
something about its nearness to earth, its humility
something about its being able to thrive and to be a jewel in the desert
something about its self-assurance
something about its alone-ness but not loneliness