The Dance of the Leaves
By John Bonney of Springfield, OR, USA
For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the Lord that has mercy on you. —3 Nephi 10:18, adapted
Years ago I would go to the office early, and a playful autumn wind would pile the leaves against the glass door. I would sweep the leaves away from the entrance, vigorously pushing them into the parking lot.
As I headed back to the door, I could clearly hear those same leaves giggling at my foolishness as they scuttled along behind me, following me back to the door—right back where they started. They rustled and tittered, and I couldn’t help but laugh myself.
I saw those leaves dancing! Is there not music and dance to the wonders of creation? I believe there is. There is dancing in the out-of-range musings of the stars and the systematic swaying of the universe itself. In the imperceptible pirouettes of the planets, the song of creation is offered in grand praise of that which set it in motion.
It would be a poor First Cause, God of Creation, Ground of Being, if finite beings could understand all there is. I will not hide behind the phrase that God is beyond our understanding. I hear, see, smell, touch, and taste the graceful and terrible dance of creation. I sense the song of the spheres, the elemental notes given to the symphony by the loving direction of the Composer’s hands.
As I saw those leaves dancing in the wind, I imagined the Creator standing at the side, clapping hands and calling the steps. Gone was their day in the tree; time for hanging onto limb and branch was past. Time had come to follow the path of transformation into another form, another place, another moment. And they gracefully offered themselves up as oblation so those other bright bits of earthly wonder might take their place.
It is a wonder to have the experience of living, but also to find a destiny beyond this present form and purpose. It interests me that in our changing, we never want to lose sight of the Great Maestro. We are like dancing leaves. We would flee to the far corners of the earth, but still sweep our way back. We would hide in the dark places, but even there, God brings the light.
We can always hear the eternal music. We can always feel God’s eternal love. Listen and behold.
Prayer for Peace
Great Choreographer, we would dance to your compositions of love and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Caring for God’s Sacred Creation
Choose a way to notice, give thanks, and care for God’s sacred creation. Prayerfully consider one of the following practices or create your own. Walk in nature with a spirit of gratitude. Look and listen for God in all creation. Learn about and engage in an act of Earth-keeping such as recycling, simple living, or fasting from overconsumption of resources. Notice the diversity of the planet’s creatures, and be gentle to plants, animals, trees, and people! Fall in love with the vast, intricate wonder of God’s creation and give thanks.
One, two, three…one, two, three…I can hear it!