Erin and I thoroughly enjoyed our vacation in the
Adirondacks last week. I'd like to share a moment with you that was one of my favorites. It was a cold drizzly morning. I stood stationary in the middle of a spruce bog forest for two straight hours with
my back propped up against a large White-Cedar tree. After about a half-hour I saw three winged silhouettes heading in my direction from the East. These birds were gliding from perch to perch moving low through the under-story of the spruce bog forest. As they got closer I could see that it was a family of Canada jays, and they made me think of human hunters putting on a
deer drive the way that they arranged themselves in a forward moving line formation in their
search for a wide variety of edible plant and animal matter. Still as a statue I stood. As they passed by, one alighted to rest on a branch only a few feet away from my location before they continued their quest for food in a Westward trajectory. After another half-hour a flock of about forty Dark-eyed juncos passed right on through, moving from South to North, hopping along the thick mossy forest floor in search of insects and seeds in a collective movement that to me resembled a game of leap frog as those who were in the back of the flock moved to the front again and again.
One of the remarkable things about the spruce bog forest is that everything is covered with life; even deceased trees are completely covered with mosses and lichens that are very much alive. The forest floor is blanketed by a thick mat of green sphagnum moss.
In the spruce bog there are patterns to note. Sphagnum moss, spruce, fir, and cedars help to create space for others, providing structure for the spruce bog forest.
Fungi and lichens help to bring new life to the dead and dying parts of the forest.
The birds and other animals help to maintain balance for the plant life in the spruce bog forest, and the plants do the same in return.
Each member shares a gift that helps the forest community to thrive; each is made to be co-creators, working in partnership with the Divine Spirit who animates all life.
The members of this spruce bog forest community have been my teachers for educating me in the way of reciprocity this past week. They've helped me to understand more about what it means to be a good neighbor.
I think the spruce bog forest community has the following lesson to share with all of us. Each of us has a gift to share. The sharing of our gifts helps our neighbors and our communities to thrive. Some of us may be gifted with the ability to help create space for others. Some of us may be gifted with the ability to help bring new life to the dead and dying parts of our community. Some of us may be gifted with the ability to help maintain balance in our community. We are all made to be co-creators, working in partnership with the Divine Spirit who animates all life.
What gifts do you posses? How will you help your neighbors and your community to thrive?