A tall dead oak sits near my cabin. As I walk by each day, my eyes are drawn to its weathered skin, and leafless branches. I think of taking it down with my chainsaw, knowing I need the wood for the up-coming winter season. But I can't do it. Too many emotions surface as I look to its topmost branch.
You see, the last four years a pair of flickers have come to the small hole within to raise their family. First, with my binoculars, I see them carrying bits and pieces of wood shavings from my log-splitter, then they layer the nest with leaves, feathers, and moss. I wonder how they know to come back each year, but they always do. To me they exemplify integrity, and I am stunned by their diligence and focus as they work each moment to completion.
Nature is my teacher. By listening, I hear the flicker babies call out as their mom approaches with food. By watching, I see the integrity of their search in rain, wind, or heat. And by caring, my heart opens to the devotion of their work and the trees surrounding them. We are mid-spring, the underbrush is filling in and ferns cover the forest floor. Soon I'll be seeing fawns scampering through the dappled sunlight of my woods. Integrity. I am honored to be a part of its completeness as I recognize my prosperity.