“. . . But Only God Can Make a Tree”
The orange-breasted birds greet us like old friends,
two women escaping the suffocating walls
of a lingering pandemic. Her arm around mine,
perhaps for balance, perhaps intimacy, perhaps both.
The other hand carries a cane, at my request, as we stroll
through the park delighting in the chirp of the cardinals,
the schizophrenic soaring of the swallows,
the dashing hop of the gray, black, and brown squirrels.
Once, from a distance, we saw a family of swans
and from then on, our walks took on new meaning
as we searched for the babies, cygnets, I’m told.
And once, when she thought she could go no further,
I urged her to peek around the corner, just in case,
and, sure enough, they were there. And we continued
to path’s end to see the families of geese and ducks
tucked safely among the shadows of the trees.
Today, there are no robins, cardinals, chickadees,
or swallows. No squirrels. Only the rowdy winds
of autumn, roaring through a riverbank of stumps.
Raw, ravaged stumps.
In my mind, I am penning a letter to a city which chooses
to listen to those demanding a view, but doesn’t ask us
who prioritize seeds, not chain saws; who recognize trees
as essential to addressing the climate challenge
facing the planet; who . . .
I stop because she has stopped, her eyes staring up
at the leafy arms of the sole remaining cottonwood,
and I hear from her lips a song as beautiful as any robin.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree. . .
My raging rant dissolves into the lyrics
of Kilmer’s poem, recited by one
whose memory is fading; who,
in few words, says everything as she
spreads the world with honey.
As one of Mother's nighttime caregivers recently tested positive to COVID, Mother and I find ourselves quarantined through Thanksgiving. Two adventurers confined to an apartment, we have decided to call this time "an extended slumber party."
But it is tough. Every cough, sneeze, or headache is a worry.
We are grateful to those wearing masks, social distancing, limiting group gatherings, and doing what is possible to keep everyone safe.
Health is at the top of the list this Thanksgiving. Ours and yours. Please be safe.
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