[from my gardening journal, June 14, 2004]

“.. Interesting that tree leaves- particularly those from maples make excellent compost on their own.  I read that when planting a sapling you want to use poor quality soil.  This causes the roots to burrow deep in order to find what they need which serves two purposes.  Firstly, it permits their root systems to grow deep which will secure them in storms.  Secondly, it permits them to provide their ecological benefits- namely to find mineral wealth deep beneath where it is buried beyond the reach of lesser flora, convert it into organic material, and then deposit this in the form of leaves to mingle with the topsoil.  The tree then is as a grandfather to all lower vegetation.  It spends it’s lifetime harvesting wealth from deep, deep within the earth, pulling it up into its leaves, and then shedding this wealth on the ground to renew burned, scorched and depleted earth.  Eventually we see grass and flowers growing out of this natural compost.  Without recourse to fertilizers, herbicides, or any other enhancement, we see nature producing the likes of the great planes- the most beautiful and large lawn we know of.

My Aunt Maxcia called me yesterday morning as the sun was rising (2021.03.16). She read this one part from Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh (emphasis mine): “O Thou Whose remembrance is the delight of the souls of all them that yearn after Thee, Whose name is the exultation of the hearts of all who are wholly devoted to Thy will, Whose praise is cherished by such as have drawn nigh unto Thy court, Whose face is the ardent desire of all them that have recognized Thy truth, Whose trial is the healer of the sicknesses of them who have embraced Thy Cause, Whose calamity is the highest aspiration of such as are rid of all attachment to any one but Thyself!”

This all reminds me of how when we suffer and go through things, – like the tree that had bad soil and was forced to dig deeper – we are given far stronger roots when we are forced to mature in a deep way through that hardship- don’t you feel that? I think of how Abraham Lincoln was so depressed as a young man that he was always thinking of killing himself. But then when he started to work towards liberating the slaves in the South – the tone of his letters changed. He was no-longer unhappy. I feel like his extreme sensitivity and difficulty when he was young gave him tremendous compassion and courage as he grew older. I figure it was because he knew what suffering felt like and wouldn’t sit on his hands.

I see some of that nature in some of these young people at Townshend. I admire them so much already for the qualities they posses and am excited by what wonderous forces for justice and goodness they are likely to become as they soar out into the world. They already are this way! Brave and articulate. We may remember perhaps – that sometimes an affliction or an injustice is something that in a deep way establishes the course of our life and destiny in beautiful ways. Doesn’t mean at all that when injustice happens- that it’s OK – it’s not- but the struggle may also really strengthen who we are one day.