Keep a Green Tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. -Chinese Proverb

A tree is nourished by the sun, by nutrients in the soil and the air and the refreshing rain, among other ideal conditions for its growth. So is our being nourished in different ways. We are nourished by external factors such as movement, fresh air, nutrituous food and so on. There are also internal factors that give us nourishment such as healthy thoughts and beliefs, receiving and expressing love and a life of purpose and contribution. To me, 'the green tree in your heart' refers to keeping your heart and mind and body open and nourished.

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. -Maya Angelou


Recently, I made a new friend. Before that, I was not aware that this friend existed.

At the edge of the yard behind my parent’s home, there is row of tall, leafy bushes that have tiny flowers which blossomed in their full glory around mid-May. Each day, we would go under a giant, old, very old tree that stands at the corner of the backyard and in its shade set up our work space. A garden table with two chairs with extra long electric cables to fuel both our notebook computers. As we began our day, I became aware of a unified yet differentiated buzz. It was the buzzing and humming of about 40-50 bumble bees and honey bees that were lounging on the multitudes of flowers. The sky was blue and radiant while the air, fresh and quickly warming up.

One morning, Cristof and I were having our breakfast as usual in the backyard. We heard a beautiful chirp. Short and brief. We asked, “Where are you?” And she replied by flying a little higher on the branches and clearer into our view. We saw a faint silhouette of a slender bird. We wanted to see more of her. She flew even closer and now in full view of us. Wow! This bird seemed so familiar to me, although I had never seen her before. She was grey with a black note on its head, had a sleek tail and an adorable beak. She bobbed her head gently to the side which I interpreted as a warm embrace of an old friend. Her eyes were delicate and full of mysterious wisdom. She exuded such love and warmth into me with her knowing glance. And I know she was looking at me- straight into my soul. She was seeing me in my completeness and my wholeness; she was accepting me in ways so new yet familiar. I fell in love with this bird - a bird who I lovingly call black cap - and we became friends. I just made a new friend; before that I was not even aware that this friend existed.

In celebration and to my joy, the black cap began singing. For fifteen minutes, she sang and I was mesmerized by her song.



I see this friend everywhere I go.

I first saw her in my parent’s backyard in New Jersey singing.

I saw her at the Bronx Zoo in New York jumping from one branch to another.

I saw her at the Welcome Center at the Blue Ridge Parkway cleaning her feathers.

I saw her on our camping weekend in upstate New York picking berries.

I see my friend everywhere I go. And everywhere I go, her song goes with me.


-Sophia Ojha



Maya Angelou is an inspiring poet and the author of some wonderful books. To learn more, click on one of these links.