Getting to the Heart

A Dream Of Trees: Mary Oliver

There is a thing in me that dreamed of trees,
A quiet house, some green and modest acres
A little way from every troubling town,
A little way from factories, schools, laments.
I would have time, I thought, and time to spare,
With only streams and birds for company.
To build out of my life a few wild stanzas.
And then it came to me, that so was death,
A little way away from everywhere.
There is a thing in me still dreams of trees,
But let it go. Homesick for moderation,
Half the world’s artists shrink or fall away.
If any find solution, let him tell it.
Meanwhile I bend my heart toward lamentation
Where, as the times implore our true involvement,
The blades of every crisis point the way.
I would it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?


There was a fall break here in New Zealand during the Easter holiday. My flatmate (Tiffany) and I took advantage of the time to go explore the South Island for 10 days. I drove curvy roads, hiked, walked, rode in some boats, and overall saw beautiful sights of nature. It reminded me of home: the green, the fall leaves, the mountains, the lakes, the trees, and the ocean. The penguins, not so much, but they were pretty awesome too. It is an interesting time in the world, and some of the negative aspects of it found its way to us, reminding me there is never any getting away from reality. The hurt of the world travels to all ends. At the same time, I know who I am. I know what my life has and continues to stand for. I am not ignorant to my privilege and the endless blessings I have been graced with in my lifetime. I also think I have come a long way in being willing and wanting to dive into hard conversations. There is no running away from conflict, from hurt, from brokenness, but there is another way we can approach restoration, repair, and reconciliation. I really believe it is by approaching those things through a heart of love. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I just have a lot of thoughts and my own experiences. I believe, very much in the sharing of story, mine and yours, as a way to bridge understanding and difference. And as I move through this place trying to understand better, I am grateful for the beauty that surrounds me: here, at home in Oregon, and wherever the road takes me. I hope you enjoy some of these places I found myself at in South Island. Photos can capture only so much of the beauty. The street art of Dunedin, the shores of South Island, the mountains, the lakes, and the fauna and flora I viewed along the way. It all washed over me with the realization that those earth protectors, those fighting for the future of such places, life, and beauty, they are and continue to be my (s)heros.

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