Family

Autumn in Iowa

Family of growing things

Grandmother Cottonwood speaks of family:

Technically, in the great classification system devised by humans in which all things are separate, we are not defined as members of the same family. I, a magnificent and glorious Cottonwood tree, am not related to your potted snake plant, your beautiful shiny philodendron, your red flowered geranium according to this way of seeing and analyzing the world. Worst of all, this system states that I am not related to you, my many layered human friend.

Yes, we are not family by blood or sap. We do not share hair and eye color. On the surface of things we share very little in common. Your bark is very thin and would never stand up to winter storms of summer suns like mine does.

Can you guess where I’m going with this? Then you already know that you and I and all living things, all rooted things, all six legged things, all bacteria in the soil, all creatures on this earth are intimately intertwined and interwoven of the same stuff, the same energy – the stuff of life that permeates and enlivens all. I am here to tell you that you must expand your idea of family! We are family. We all belong together in our shared home.

Let us take care of each other and love each other! Let us know that each of us from the tallest redwood to the tiniest speck of algae to a minuscule deer tick to a new human baby, each of us belongs here, is desired, wanted, needed, loved and cherished by all that is. Each of us has our part to play in the great web of life, which is our extended and beloved family.

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