Wisdom is a Tree of Life


Every living thing grows old.
Like the foliage on a vigorous tree,
some leaves falling, others growing,
so are the generations of flesh and blood:
one dies, another is born.

Wisdom is a tree of life
for those who hold her fast;
those who cling to her, live happy lives.
Blessed is the man
who meditates on wisdom and understanding,
who builds his nest in her foliage
and spends the night in her branches,
who sets his family in her shade
and lives in her shelter.
In her glory he makes his home.
-From the Books of Wisdom and Proverbs

The word universe means one turn, the cyclic movement which is created and subsequently destroyed, the stages of material life from formation through extinction. Each of us is a universe. Life and death are equal halves of a single turn, a whole sphere, alternating phases of the one abiding mystery. The circle of life, the wheel of time, paradoxically symbolize both impermanence and completeness. From the womb of birth to the womb of death we participate in this order, and we experience it most truthfully not in activity but in contemplation, when we give ourselves to a sustained meditation on the transience of our finite condition.

Page 21 Sign of the Tree
Meinrad Craighead
1970s; Stanbrook Abbey; Ink on Scratchboard; 12×10; Mat is signed.

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