This morning, as I walked around the block, the cardinal spoke of Divine Love. As he sang to the world and his female friends, I felt the reverberations course down through my chest, and I shed my anxieties to recognize the beauty and peace of life around me, even within the city.

Trees of majesty, pillars of stillness, strength and flexibility. Songs of birds as I walk, different languages, different statements, a context of individuality expressed in a harmonious whole. White landscape, beginning to melt, reflecting as much heat as possible, slowing the spring, saving the summer. Does Earth Mother do these things with awareness?

“Come,” the angel told me some years ago. I followed blindly. In the car, left, right or straight? Here? At this construction site? I got out of the car to look around. I stepped carefully through the muddy expanse of flattened hills, stumps and logs still to be blown out and hauled away. And there was roiling beneath the surface. I felt loss and anger rippling up through my feet and legs, poking at my heart and fuzzing the edges of my thought.

“Here?” I asked the angel. “What can I do?”

“Listen,” he said.

Spirits were angry. They spoke to me: “This was sacred ground. This was original forest. Look what your people have done!”

Do I defend to them the actions of an unaware, egocentric human culture?

“There is so little left. We have no place to go.”

I was sad, caught without answers. Here, a developer’s vision: a new shopping center, spacious, attractive, serving the growing suburb with groceries, clothes, gifts and fast food. Here also: a spirit culture, ancient, intelligent, of good will, a supporting part of all living things, yet invisible and silent to humans.

“We also can destroy,” they said. I felt their desolation.

I came back a few weeks later and they were gone. Empty, silent ground.

My neighbor is a landscape architect. One winter heavy equipment came to the marsh just down the street. They gouged through the ice, lifting huge buckets of frozen peat into the rumbling trucks, heavy and rattling the windows like garbage trucks as they drove by. I asked him what they were doing.

“Ponds,” he said. “They are renewing the marsh and forming ponds to cleanse the street runoff before the water reaches the lakes.”

It took a few years before the tall reeds and grasses surrounded the water. I am walking there this morning, spring awakening the creek running through the ponds.

“Listen,” the angel says. Birds, squirrels, water over stones, distant freeway, early spring touching me in my center. Deep peace wells up within me.

I feel the harmony of all living things.

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