In Buffy the Vampire Slayer there is a character called Willow. She starts off as a stereotypical bookworm geek at school, but after becoming one of Buffy’s sidekicks she starts learning magic. Over several seasons she becomes a very powerful wicca. Eventually she gets addicted to the darker magics. When her lover is killed by a stray bullet she becomes overwhelmed with grief. Fueled by a spiral of rage and loss she consumes more and more power on her path to revenge. In consuming increasing amounts of power from the primal forces of the world she becomes more connected to the pain and suffering of all humans. To try to silence this anguish she attempts to end the world using magic.

She is saved by love. Where everyone else is trying to use power to stop her, her best friend Xander tells her that he loves her. He keeps telling her as she slashes him and burns him and hits him. He keeps telling her until her hair turns from black to red, and she breaks down crying, her power to harm exhausted.

This morning when I went running around the river, there were many willow branches on the ground. This often happens when there’s been a big wind. Some of the branches were just small twigs. Some were huge, a quarter or third of a whole tree. But we never seem to run out of willow trees. The wind blows down many branches, but the trees still grow.

To me, this is the spirit of non-violence. The trees do not try to fight the wind, they just bend before it, and sometimes they break. But always they grow. The immutable, irresistable power of love is expressed in the growth of living things, in the unconditional care of a friend in the face of grief, in the willingness of a people to reject violence and stand for a deeper truth.


One Response to “Willow”

  1. Builder dust and willow snow « Pensieve Says:

    […] Yesterday I was running around the river. The air was thick with ‘willow snow’, the light fluffy balls that carry willow seeds floating on the air. The willow snow collected in drifts on the grass verges of the footpath. To the touch it was as one who’s never seen snow before might naively imagine it to feel, soft, warm and fluffy. The willow trees, so pliant and patient, that yield and break before the wild winds and yet are ever growing. To them change is slow, and steady, almost imperceptible. They grow gently, softly and beautifully. […]

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