February 7, 2024

Pockets of Beauty—a Letter from the Future.

I’m sitting on the body of an enormous fallen oak tree, in a field a half hour northeast of Louisville, Kentucky.

It’s autumn, and cool. The rain has stopped. I’m here for a retreat, and I’ve been told to write a letter to myself from the future, and I have been given 20 minutes to do it.

I’m surprised at what comes out, and how quickly. As I write the last sentence, I’m aware that this letter is not just for me. It is for you, the one who is worried it’s already too late and the world is already too far gone.


Dear Human,

Hello from the very distant future. We are what you called trees. We barely survived but, guess what, now thousands and thousands of years in the future, we can write. How cool is that? What does it look like now where we are, you ask? Oh, we can’t tell you that. That would ruin the mystery. But, like we said, we are here and that, in large part, is due to you and the other wild, heart-full beings like you.

But it wasn’t pretty.

There was death, massive death. Humans. Non-humans. Scorched bones for days. You all took way too long to realize the pot of water you were sitting in was boiling. Not too smart for beings who were supposedly so smart. But, you and the others like you helped save just enough beauty. You helped with your compassion, and you helped by listening to others with your full heart. Those other beings—lonely, lost, and in pain—felt heard in such a way that they no longer felt the need to buy that next toy or gadget or shoes, or death scroll Instagram.

Some of those others would ask how you were able to listen with your heart, and when you told them it was through your connection with and gratitude for the earth, they began to appreciate the earth more too. Those moments added up. And so did the trees you planted, as well as the land, the ocean, and other living beings that you and the wild others like you saved along the way. You all saved just enough.

And those scant remnants came to be called pockets of beauty. When all the destruction had burned itself out, when only those lucky few beings still lived, whether they were two-legged, four-legged, or rooted, it was from those pockets of beauty that a new, wiser world evolved.

We know it feels like time is short for you, that it took too much of your life to realize what you need to do, what the earth and your soul need you to do. But those pockets of beauty changed everything.

We know it can feel overwhelming, and that you feel alone in the battle against the giant f*cking machine and culture. But you and the other wild ones are like the nodes on a web that is spread around the world, all connected to each other. Each of these nodes, wherever they are, is creating a pocket of beauty, and it will be those pockets that keep the earth from becoming a barren, lifeless rock.

So, we thank you for all your heart and love, all the compassion and authenticity that you are bringing into the world, despite so many forces that want to silence it.

Oh, and you know that tree sapling that you intend to plant with your dead body? Well, guess what, we can also track stardust here in the future! And the stardust from your body went into the roots of that tree and then spread through its seeds, creating a whole forest that contains your stardust. That forest is now us, your future descendants, writing to you.

We want you to know that the big love that is inside of you, the one you are using to create your pockets of beauty, it never died once you gave it to the world. Always remember that.


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