“Every moment instructs, and every object; for wisdom is infused into every form.” – Emerson, Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical, comp. by Charles Noel Douglas. New York: Halcyon House, 1917; Bartleby.com, 2012.
A friend of mine recently asked me: “Can a tree be wise?” It was a sweet, seemingly simple question to answer, but it really got me thinking about the nature of life and its infinitely variable forms. I’ve come to the initial conclusion, based on an assumption, that if life is the radiant evidence of the body (truth) of love, then yes, there is wisdom in all things, including trees.
Truth is the matrix – composed of principles, purposes, designs and control – into which the light of love is poured. When love is met by truth, wisdom and its material cousin beauty emanate from above down and within outward. When love is met by something other than truth, foolishness and ugliness are breathed into life. Love is the only power, but its birth into life is wholly dependent on the nature of the intervening matrix.
The reason why nature is so beautiful, even in its darkest corners and oddest phenomena, is that nature does not possess free will and therefore cannot manipulate truth as do human beings. To the degree that man has remained cognizant of the reality of truth, his expression is wise, fitting, beautiful and generative. Wherever he has bent the truth to suit his purposes, however, darkness, sordidness, tribulation and imperfection prevail.
Is it correct to call a tree “wise?” The answer is clearly yes, without a doubt. And if I am not mistaken, we have yet much to learn from them.