Tree of Peace

Oren Lyon’s painting of the Tree of Peace, as found at peacecouncil.net

These are turbulent times.

Elementary school teachers across Ontario are upset and taking action by going on strike this coming Friday, January 11th. Their issues revolve around pay, sick days, and the union’s ability to fight for their democratic rights.

The NHL were on strike for 113 days, and are still in the process of sorting out the details of their return to play. Their big beef was about money and the fair distribution of it between players and owners.

Even the security screeners at Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport are in a strike position after contract talks broke down today. Their issues – availability of lunch rooms and money (they want to bring their wages up to par with other Canadian airports).

I think in an environment filled with so much angst and strife we could all use a little peace. There is an old Iroquois legend that speaks of just that in the tale of the Tree of Peace. In this tale, the people were in terrible conflict and had forgotten to be thankful. They had strayed from the Creator and this resulted in war and much bloodshed. In turn, the Creator sent “The Peacemaker” to the people of the Five Nations. The Peacemaker went to the people of the Five Nations and addressed their issues. With their issues addressed and laid to rest, he took up their arms and buried them under the roots of the tallest tree in the land. The five needles were in clusters of five, representing the five nations and the roots spread in four directions (North, South, East and West), taking in all the land. This symbol was one that brought peace to these people and future generations. It is a heart-warming tale and one that would be wise to be read again today.

For today, we need all the trees we can get to bring as much peace to our troubled land as we can get.

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