Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pausing in the Woods in the Rain

Today in a long moment of dripping forest stillness, I understood
why the poets are so inclined to talk to trees.

In a little patch of wet-earth woods
with the sun filtering through clouds and bare branches,
with the quiet seeping in like rain through the leaf-covering to the damp earth,
I laid my hand on the moss-marked side of a slender grey tree
that clung to a string of ghostly pale leaves which hung like paper ornaments
against the dark backdrop of the woods.

A trail wound by the very tree,
passing hikers the only contact with an outside world,
yet in between those visits:
and birds and animals moving and trunks groaning, and wind whispering or sending showers of rain and snow to the ground below.
And before a footstep ever came this way?

That was when I wanted to ask
for the tale of these trees, of this little patch of woods.
They remain content
strong oaks, elegant birches, slender saplings, weak or rotting trees,
content in the quiet
and the storm.

I fear I would not understand
how they can see so much beauty
and so much slow inevitable change
without moving,
how they so calmly go about their purposes
without even consciously seeking them,
how they seem to worship without doing anything but growing.

Perhaps it was good that the trees did not answer,
for I joined in their silence;
it seemed the only appropriate thing to do.

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