Commissioned by Unity Church-Unitarian. Saint Paul, MN. Ruth Palmer, director of music. World premiere May 1, 2016 conducted by the composer.
“Under this Tree” is an expression of gratitude for finding a home. In this case, the home is Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota. Though there are some lifelong Unity members, many others find their way to this liberal congregation as a kind of refuge, having survived all kinds of challenges. The first thing everyone sees inside is a lovely, tall ficus tree. There is almost no other imagery at the very front of the church save this graceful, green, living arc of welcome.
Though I wrote this about one very specific tree in a specific place, you will have your own: it’ll be in your yard, a park, the woods, or maybe in the forest of your memory and imagination—wherever you find that place of renewal, where there is no veil between you and the Divine. What a joy to create this piece with Jake Runestad who implicitly understands the wordless power of nature to heal.
– Brian Newhouse (poet/lyricist)
View the Score
Under This Tree
by Brian Newhouse
I walked so long to find this tree,
Each path was rock or thorn.
Then at last to touch these leaves…
Could I hope, could I know:
Who might I be?
Who are you, God?
What can I love?
Am I free?
And under this tree… You are loved as you are.
Under this tree… There is no veil.
Under this tree… You are your own.
Under this tree… Here is your home.