One of the characteristic signs that I am enjoying a given bit art is that its surface shimmers, loosens, allows me to enter and consider more deeply what I encounter there. So it is with the book I am currently reading.
There are a hundred thousand different species of love, separately invented, each more ingenious than the last, and every one of them keeps making things.
The Overstory by Richard Powers. P. 144.
I read this close to a chapter one morning this week while sitting in the sunroom around 6 AM, sipping coffee, reading, praying, writing, before the becoming of the day. I read this and I came to a full stop.
Glancing at the profile of face value, the hundred thousand species are trees. This line ends a chapter about a young woman who found her meaning and calling in the bark and the tremble of branch and root systems, in their relationships to the broader world, in the wonder of creation made manifest in science, in the study of communication shared by trees.
Forests contend with clear-cutting and being pillaged for what they offer to benefit humanity. Generative love, cut down. Host to wildlife, makers of oxygen, producer of fruits, nuts, flowers, shade.
Seen from a different angle, the “species” are the myriad of ways that humans love. And haven’t people—blindly or intentionally—sometimes tried to clear-cut some of those species of love too??
A hundred thousand species of love…and every one of them keeps making things.
What if we asked of ourselves and those around us— when we grow in the expression, the manifestation, of our species of love, what do We make? Do we make more justice in this world? Do we make joy? Have greater resilience? Do others find respite with us or do we pose a threat? Do we reach out to neighbour and share nutrients? Do we make our acreage healthier by what our love produces?
Do we feel closer to God? Do others, when their lives intertwine with ours?
I can’t help but think that the answers to these questions, well-considered, could lead to a more peaceable forest-of-humans-community where a great diversity of species are able to flourish in grandeur and in a fullness of love.