Hints of Gladness

That my daily writing sometimes elicits a positive comment or an appreciative mention makes me feel great. That once in a while, someone “likes” or shares my words is a kind reminder that a hand is holding the other tin can at the end of this string. I love knowing that you are there. I appreciate you for your kind attention.

And I do not do it for you. I do it for me.

My writing lets me know what I’m thinking and, more personally, what I need. I do not write to share expertise or “know how” though sometimes I find myself with one foot caught in that trap. I write because I trust that what is longing to be expressed are my own questions – a prelude to my own wisdom – seeking to come to my aid.

When I wrote yesterday about being a source instead of a resource, I was reminding myself to reassert my self-authorship, that only I get to decide how much of my creativity, energy and commitment to share. No one can do that for me. No one is waiting for me to shoot up an eager hand. No one is waiting to pick me.

In short order I came across yet another of Mary Oliver’s beautiful messages of reassurance and possibility. Here, she takes us into the forest to listen and then to notice how the trees encourage us to follow their example, to ease ourselves into being ourselves, our shining, light-filled selves.

I needed that today. Maybe you do, too.


When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Poem for a Sunday Morning

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 that 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 wish it were not so, but so it is.
Who ever made music of a mild day?


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A Week of Thanks: Day 4

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
– Henry David Thoreau

I am thankful for trees.

Towering, shapely, steadfast, timeless.

Toxic gas-eating, oxygen-generating, shade-providing, forest-creating, habitat-protecting, fire-fueling, immovable yet changeable, calm-inducing, perspective-enhancing, trees.

From trees I learn to stand my ground, deepen my roots, provide shelter, heal my wounds, rely on others, turn negatives into positives, understand my surroundings and continue to grow.

I am thankful for trees.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.

So Many Trees

There are so many kinds of trees. I recognized this week how few of them I can name.

I can spot a redwood, or is that a sequoia?

Of course I know a maple leaf (thank you, Canada). But a Japanese maple?

And that Bay laurel? The leaf looks familiar, just not the whole tree.

And on it goes.

It doesn’t matter if I know the difference between the trees around me. Nothing is at stake.

But if I lose sight of their individuality – if I can’t see the tree for the forest – then I am choosing willful blindness over appreciation and awareness.

And trees, without judgment, defensiveness or retaliation, are a safe place to practice how I might think about other people.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.