The Baobab Room by Father Jacques de Foïard-Brown with Marilyn Nelson
Hardcover with a flyleaf • 52pgs • Illustrated • Children
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Here, Father Jacques de Foiard Brown, the priest fictionalized in some of Marilyn Nelson’s poems as the hermit monk “Abba Jacob,” combines his own voice with that of his fictional self to write about how he learned to meditate from a baobab tree which was his boyhood’s “best silence teacher.” Observing the baobab and the creatures who lived in its trunk and branches taught him about beauty, friendship, generosity, vulnerability, compassion, and the community of living things: lessons he tells us we can learn ourselves, without having a nearby baobab tree, by going inward in meditation. Listening to silence may help us to see the connection between the natural world and faith. Some of the oldest baobab trees, between 1,000 and 2,500 years old, have died in the last decade. The giant redwoods and sequoias, some over 3,000 years old, are dying off. It’s time to listen to the trees.