The Trees

The trees

I have not forgotten you
sycamore, evergreen or oak.
We have familiarity:

Increasing our rings,
bearing the elements,
growing.

You remind me of what remains
and what is flow,
permanence and pilgrimage.

I did not think, for a long time,
that paradise could have need,
that Eden could want.

But here we are:
the winds restless, the water murky,
the ocean too warm for the coral.

I worry. My kids, the world’s kids,
will they be visitors here,
not, as I was, a homey?

Will the planet be as OZ,
a place to visit but not stay?
I remember there were oranges in Southern California,

when the mountains were not up in smoke,
when the Pacific crashed in clean exhilaration.
I remember when we weren’t visiting.

I must shift from pessimism.
I look at a photo of trees, a lake, mountain autumn.
Peace is invitational, and warm.

When I was last feeling this warmth
that comes now, slowly, like latte,
I was in a Maine woods

four days, a Vision Quest.
I worried I would not receive sight.
The last morning I sat upon a log,

one sound in one moment,
Swoosh. Again, Swoosh.
I looked up: a leaf in autumn hue

falling in slow exquisite ballet:
I could hear its slipper feet,
I could hear its burnt orange bustle.

To become so quiet I could hear,
it was the gift, the vision.
Now I hear the sycamore, the evergreen and the oak,

their deeply rooted hands beneath the earth,
their witness to the day:
the stealth of the Holy Spirit, its hope.

Mary L. Fraser

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