Gingko Gold

Shortly after waking, I slipped on my sandals, and walked out onto the land to greet the day.   Slowly and mindfully I prayed the prayer of the directions, facing each way—east, south, west, and north. I welcomed the gift of each direction with graceful tai chi gestures that seemed to evoke the prayer waiting in my heart.  Turning east again I reached high to welcome the gifts of sky/Universe, and then bent to touch the earth to express my love and gratitude for her abundant gifts.  Then I stood once again, hands over my Heart Center, in wonder and presence here at the Center of the world.

I lifted my eyes.  The sun had recently risen and now was brightly shining from behind a tree at the other end of the long yard which ran along the full length of the Retreat House.  What was I seeing?  I blinked my eyes, leaned forward, thinking I saw something falling from this tree. I had!  It was leaves falling steadily like glistening golden rain!  As if some inner signal had been given, “Get ready, get set, GO!”   I marveled as I moved to close the distance between us.Gingko Dancing Lighter

Then filled with awe I recognized the tree to be a gingko and began to circle her as she rained down her gold on me.  It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Soon I was laughing and dancing with the leaves, and in the leaves, and singing with the tree, unselfconsciously and free. As I danced I found myself on holy ground, hearing the rain-like sound of the leaves as they landed, and was swept up in the dynamics of this beauty, this ancient, prehistoric and sacred ritual.

I fell silent.  I was in the presence of this being who carries a unique and ancient wisdom from over 65 million years ago!  God’s primary revelation of God’s self to us is within and through God’s creation, as we explore and learn its dynamics and brilliance, its lessons and invitations to us.  Listening, I watched and pondered the Gingko’s revelations all day, visiting her often. The shower of gold continued with no let up, in different lights and shadows.  By late afternoon a yellow carpet encircled my new friend, now an all-but-empty tree!  “Now that’s what I call “letting go!” I said to myself.

That was some 20 years ago now. But since that day, Gingko trees have remained a special presence to me.  Their autumn ritual, the shape and structure of their leaves, their unique variety of shapes and sizes, all have revealed insights into God, and messages for life.

This year I’m firmly in the autumn of my own life, and in the midst of a serious simplifying and moving process (as are those of us who are trying to follow the plea of planet Earth and Pope Francis, to simplify, to “let go” of a way of life based on consumerism which is destroying us).   I need and ask for the freedom and generosity of Gingko Rain days, the letting go of all that “gold”, the gifts given me for the world, the courage to stand all but empty. . . Dear friend Gingko, show me the way, the dance; give me the freedom, evoke in me the gratitude I need to celebrate this “letting go” episode!


You can click this link for a video sequence, and interesting lore about this gingko phenomenon.  On some of the later videos you can “hear” the rain.

I highly recommend a beautiful book to grow your relationship with Earth:  LOVE LETTER TO THE EARTH by Thich Nhat Hanh.

For more practices for this month’s “Season of Creation” (Pope Francis), see click here: (