We All Travel The Milky Way Together

We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men; but it never occurred to me until this storm-day, while swinging in the wind, that trees are travelers in the ordinary sense. They make many journeys, not extensive ones, it is true; but our own little journeys, away and back again, are only little more than tree-wavings — many of them not so much.

John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)

On a warm, humid September 11th, I look around my backyard and see the signs that tell me that autumn will soon be here, in spite of summer’s last hurrah.   I see the leaves that are beginning to fall, and the last of the acorns that the squirrels have been shaking out of the oak tree, and I know that journey of our Earth around the sun is in continual motion.  I see a little oak sapling that, against all odds, has sprouted from an acorn that fell from the big oak, and is now growing beside it.

Leaves having journeys, acorns having journeys, trees having seasonal journeys as the Earth travels around the sun.  Life is a journey.

I think about journeys when I read John Muir’s words, and at first I think about my summer vacation trips, and how people travel farther and more easily in our present time than in Muir’s lifetime.  Maybe John Muir would see it differently today, I wonder.

But I re-read this quote and I reflect upon the significance of today, September 11, and I know that the journeys we make are the journeys of our lives, on this planet Earth as it travels around the sun in its continual motion.  Each one of us is like a tree; we experience, we grow, and we reach outward and touch the lives of many others.  We take what we need from the earth to sustain ourselves, and with that, we give of ourselves to those around us.  Like the leaves that fall from the tree to be blown by the wind and carried away, such is the effect of our existence upon those we meet along the way, and those, too, that we may never get the chance to know.  Even when we are not aware, our acorns make an impact, germinate, and become saplings.  We may not seem to travel far, but each of us makes a meaningful journey in this world.  Each one matters and makes a difference.

As John Muir says, we all travel the Milky Way together.  I hold that thought as I travel through this day.


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