The Secret Garden Revisited: A Reflection
A bird feeder hangs outside on my Infirmary window. A Chipping sparrow visits it daily and is occasionally joined by a Harris’s sparrow. After eating they fly to the Japanese maple growing near my window. The gray squirrel who lives in the tree by my window jumps to the maple and scampers down the tree to the ground, searching for hidden nuts. A screeching bluejay dive bombs the squirrel, which scurries away. These creatures are important to me. The birds, the tree and the squirrel are my kin in the community of life. These creatures share an evolutionary history with me. Each different animal, plant and tree in the courtyard has evolved to become an individual species with its own separate identity and life. They all deserve respect because of what they are in their own right.
My mind stretches beyond my window to the forests and the neotropical songbirds that flit among the branches of the oaks, hickories and walnut trees that make up our Central Hardwood Forests. These birds, animals, trees and I are interrelated. The skunks, the voles, the groundhogs, the coyotes and the graceful deer that live in the forests are my kin in the community of creation.
Whenever I pass by Badin Pond as I leave for Bardstown I sometimes see the Great Blue Heron standing silently near the pond’s bank. Once I saw a Belted Kingfisher perched on a swaying branch that hung over the pond. Turtles sun themselves on a log. Everywhere I look I see my kin in the gorgeous community of life.
While driving by the fields of corn and soybeans as they bask in the summer’s heat, I wonder where the soybeans would eventually end up, in China, perhaps, our largest U.S. soybeans customer. Goldenrod grows wild in the fields set aside for native plants restoration. The Canada geese pair that makes their home on the island in the little pond along Route 1183 toward Manton have flown away, their now-flying goslings in tow. But they will return to nest again next spring. All this is also part of the community of life held in existence in continuous creation by the Source of All Being.
When I return to the Loretto Motherhouse I usually see some sisters sitting under the overhang near the lobby enjoying the morning sunshine. We have in common our interrelatedness with the different species of animals, birds, trees, plants, amphibians and reptiles that share the Motherhouse land with us. We all share an evolutionary history.
The point of this reflection is this: We are all kin in the community of creation. We participate in the community of life on this Motherhouse land and neighborhood. We share an existence that is held in continuous creation by the Source of All Being, redeemed by the Eternal Word and empowered by the Spirit. Each existence, each species, which includes ourselves, is to be respected for its own individuality and identity. Each species deserves to be protected and preserved for its own sake. We humans are not stewards of the community of life. We are kin.