yet, when sown, shoots up, and becomes larger than any other herb, and puts out great branches, so that even the wild birds can roost in its shelter.”
there is no better way
to prepare for tomorrow
than to know it to be larger
than we can appreciate today
it very well may go bust
as we commit suicide
either delayed or immediate
life can be brutish and short
nonetheless we dream big
to do otherwise seems strange
dishonoring all that’s gone before
confusing choices and imperatives
those who know their east and west
find light’s speed squared
in each chakra chi and seed
transforming embryos to communal nests
moving individuals to common goods
occurs in a middle journey
noting yesterday’s growth into today
shifts doom toward thanks
Our location on earth is critical to our sense of well-being or generalized spirituality.
We are not dealing with Cedars of Lebanon, worthy of our grandest temple and sign of august authority. Likewise we are not dealing with Matthew or Luke with birds nesting in the branches of this mysterious mustard. Both of these are grand images and indicative of the power of growth far beyond what is expected.
Rather, we are looking at a substantial plant that can maybe double a person’s height. Here the image is a different kind of growth—birds nesting in its shade, nesting on the ground. This is wilderness resting, temporary, vulnerable.
The Jewish Annotated New Testament notes: “Like other parables, this one is satirical and humorous, and highly suggestive: the kingdom is like a scrubby invasive bush!” This critical component of good humor, even great joy, takes delight in its role reversal as an antidote for the seriousness of both fate and providence. We get easily caught in a trap of an event’s great import, whether of profound disaster (“O woe are we!”) or extreme good fortune (“We must have done something good along the way!”). Good news breaks both negative and positive expectations in the same way satire frees.