June 12th, 2012

And see the peaceful trees extend
their myriad leaves in leisured dance-
they bear the weight of sky and cloud
upon the fountain of their veins.

from “Envoi” by Kathleen Raine

In the Zen tradition we say of old teachers, “they planted trees.” It’s not just a metaphor. Planting trees is the activity of a buddha, an awakened being, and it makes perfect sense. For one thing, trees improve the scenery, and for another, trees guide the way.

A well-tended tree grows. My teachers, being grandfathers each in their own manner, planted trees. How noble, how worthy, how kind.

How to grow a tree is how to grow your life.


Inspired again by my cousin’s etegami art.


  1. Thank you for planting trees for me. xox

    Comment by Lindsey — June 13, 2012 @ 2:42 am

  2. Thank you for this. Ever since I became “grampa”, I have felt the need to tend to the little branches that have sprouted from my roots. What great purpose and meaning they give to our practice.

    Thank you for your practice.


    Comment by alan — June 13, 2012 @ 7:48 am

  3. just this weekend, I was asking my mother if I’d always loved trees as much as I do now.

    they bring me ease, just as your words do.
    thank you.

    Comment by denise — June 13, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  4. Ease is what you embody here, for all of us who come by to read and be reminded: It doesn’t have to be so complicated. Thank you, and I just love the poem.

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — June 13, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

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