cherry on tree

This week after a late-term abortion doctor in Kansas was murdered a person involved in the abortion debate was interviewed on National Public Radio.

"It's time for people to start speaking up," the person more or less said. "It's a responsibility to go on record as opposing this kind of thing."

I believe in "speaking up." Moreover, in the abortion issue my sentiments lie more with one side than the other. But, in a debate that has gone far beyond rational discussion, how do you speak up without merely inflaming the issue? For days I thought about this.

Then Wednesday afternoon as I worked outside I passed through the orchard, ducked my head beneath a cherry tree branch, and saw what's shown above.

A perfect red cherry hung nestled with two less mature brothers among summery green leaves, their serrated margins and herringbone venation esthetically harmonious with the cherries' glossy, red skin, sweet succulence, and spherical form.

Seeing this, a flash of insight ignited in my mind. For, here was a set of Nature's generous, sustainable and beautiful paradigms for how things are to be done. The tree worked quietly and efficiently producing oxygen and sweet fruit for the rest of the community; it was part of a recycling ecosystem capable of continuing until the sun ceases supplying its energy, and; beautiful were the colors, the textures, the tranquil, elegant manner by which very sophisticated and highly evolved photosynthetic chemical pathways crystallized into sweet cherries suspended among lovely, green leaves.

That cherry tree proposed a whole approach to life, a set of basic doctrines which, if practiced by anyone, leads to healthy fulfillment.

This flash of recognition and insight revealed to me how I needed to "speak out" with regard to the abortion issue. Here is what I say:

We must draw closer to Nature while reflecting profoundly on the implications of being sparks of divinity residing in biological bodies. Though most people no longer want to garden, camp, hike, study nature, or even sit quietly doing nothing in the fields, we must do more of exactly those things. Teachers, artists and other leaders are capable of creating psychic ambiances and physical environments in which people will return to those activities gladly.

For, Nature, if given a chance, crafts the human spirit, young ones and old ones, to higher states of perfection at which many problems simply don't arise.

Looking at a cherry won't neutralize a religious fanatic's venom. However, in any family or community adequately charmed by and imprinted with the influence of the beauty, meaning and promise of perfect cherries nestled among perfect green leaves, the tragedy of "the unwanted unborn" will never arise.