I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I miss the dense forests of northeastern Alabama where I grew up. The moist, earthy fragrance of the leaves of so many previous years slowly decaying on the forest floor still lives in my memory, evoking emotions and a longing to walk barefoot through the trees. I love the dappled pattern of the bits of sunlight that are able to penetrate the canopy and the lovely, soft lichen that grows on the bark of certain trees.
When I was a lad, we had three gigantic oak trees in our yard. Each of them was at least a meter in diameter. The gnarled, twisted roots splayed across the surface of the ground providing an endless variety of imaginary landscapes for my siblings and me to play. As I grew a bit older I used to create fantasies in which those three trees were central. They were sentient, of course, and talked to each other and to me. They told me stories of their youth. When Columbus made his “discovery” of the Americas, they were young, slender saplings. They told me stories of the Cherokee Indians who lived in the area. They were marvelous companions for a wee boy with an overactive imagination!
Everything has a beginning and an end. Sadly, all three of those trees fell victim to lightning and now only live in my memory. One of them, the one we were able to climb and play in, made its way into my book, New Yesterdays, Changed Tomorrows. We had grand times playing under those wonderful trees. I’d like to find a portal to take me back, just for a bit, to those days when the trees talked to me and told me stories.
Enjoy these pictures of trees gleaned from the World Wide Web.