I don’t remember my life before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Well, I do. Glimpses of this house or that puppy. Snapshots of my family. But not life as an American. Or life as anything other than a Boardman.
I’ve been sitting, these last few days, in the shadow of a tree and pondering the impact of this man on my life.
Actually, I’ve been sitting under a picture of a tree which is mostly still a sketch and, oddly, a revelation.
My nails are splattered in brown paint and the dogs are beginning to grasp the notion that they need to stay out from under my feet while I paint.
I am still learning.
My Intentional Creativity friends and I are painting trees of life.
Well, we’re painting lots of things but this seems to be where I am just now.
One day, back in December, the notion came to me that my tree would want to be a Banyan tree.
An enormous tree like the ones where I grew up in Florida, systems of branches and roots and trunks, communities of breathing life.
I visited a few of those trees in Key West and they kept whispering to me.
Kelly and I took some pictures. Mine were mostly roots.
Roots that reminded me of the ancient wisdom of elephants.
Then, we came home.
The time to paint came closer and closer, and the Banyan tree kept tugging at me.
Then, I found out why.
Dr. King is one of those roots in my Banyan tree. Justice. Equality. Community.
His tree had many roots, as well.
The prophet Isaiah. Abraham Lincoln. A dream of what hadn’t been yet but could be.
And his tree is growing still.
Bernie Sanders, perhaps.
We need all the dreamers we can get!
For today, though, I’m sitting with my tree and recalling a wise old friend named Puddleglum who had a pretty big dream of his own. Taking his leave from the Queen of the underworld to search for Narnia, along with his young friends, the Marsh-wiggle said this:
…All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things–trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for the Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think, but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say (C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair in The Chronicles of Narnia).
Many dreamers dreaming dreams. Justice. Equality. Community. Hope. Love. All of them feeding the branches and leaves still to come.
I suspect Dr. King would approve. Our four-footed Luther does, too!