(Written on retreat 25th May 11)
This afternoon I am enjoying the grounds of Stanton House in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.
I have found a shady spot underneath a massive fir tree of some description, possibly Douglas Fir but I wouldn't guarantee I'm right.
Here I sit listening to the wind and watching it's effects (see earth, wind and faith); able to spend time enjoying the natural world around me. The ducks, cuckoos, grasshoppers, ladybirds, blackbirds, song thrushes, blue tits, bumble bees, butterflies, beetles and geese; the trees, leaves, stream, branches, grass, shade, light, flowers and more all living in harmony and balance.
I reach to my right and pick up a pine cone fallen from the tree overhead.
What an amazing piece of engineering, what a lot it has to tell me.
It has fallen to provide life.
It's truth is deep within itself.
The seeds lie inside the dark cracks.
It is made of many layers.
It will open slowly with time.
It is aged yet full if new life.
It is a beauty of nature.
And as I wonder at the fir cone I realise how much this is like faith.
The many layers which appear in time to release the new seeds of hope and new life.
As I put the pine cone in my bag, a new item for my prayer collection; I see the ivy growing around the base of the tree.
What a marvel, what a story it tells.
Each leaf on the ivy is individual.
They spread out from a single point.
Leaves searching for light.
It grows through the individuals.
A network of leaves joined for sustenance.
Always growing and thriving through each leaf working for the one, sustained by the one.
And there it is, an analogy of the church.
A network of individuals sustained by the sacred centre and seeking growth through reaching out.
Who would have thought an hour beneath a tree would provide such wonder.