When St. Francis....
And after St. Cuthbert, an 8th century abbot of Lindisfarne, came out of a night's meditation in the sea and fell on his knees, two otters
And would these saints have left trees and flowers out of their blessings? The plant kingdom, unfortunately, isn't so demonstrative with its affection. Not too many stories of apple trees bending branches down to give fruit. But can we be sure they don't feel love and respond in some way?
Whatever results there may be, they depend on the strength of our connections, of the imperceptible network of bonds that develop over time.
Consider our physical hearts and how they sit at the center of a web of connection with every cell in our bodies. Our non-physical hearts, the part of us that loves, has a similar capacity for connection. Remember, love is not simply an emotion, it's an energy of some sort and energy needs to move, to circulate just as the blood does.
Relationships with family friends and pets are easy to identify. The signs are there in hugs, greetings, affections words and actions. But do we have the capacity to extend our network into the natural world? Is there a limit to our loving?
Consider the story.....
Again, the easy signs that animals and birds give of their friendship, but do you really think the saints would have left trees and flowers out of their blessings?
Cultivating this kind of connection starts with paying attention. And "paying" is a good word to use. We spend minutes watching, noticing, wondering at the intricacy of the center of a flower, the woolly underside of a leaf, the way a bud opens to the sun.
If you can't see, feel, smell the reality of plants, how can you love them?