Wind and rain recently severed the last major branch off one of our favorite trees. It had a surprising effect on my husband and me. I have since talked others who shared the same experience about losing a tree by their home. Trees are more than tall plants. They are guardians, and keepers of time and memory. They also give us life. I will share my poem in homage to our fallen tree.
Homage to a Companion
Your fallen trunk was kind
in how you laid yourself to grave.
You could have felled your sister as you
crashed, or carved a hole in our roof,
maybe splitting the slate of our terrace,
but you chose a quiet death to grass.
Arriving home we found you already down
like an elephant toppled with its trunk extended,
feet in the air, no breath but what we breathed of you
as our tears fell one by one, like the leaves
that would have come anyway
down with the cold.
It was your time, as the wind and rain knows.
So we gave you a proper service;
recounting the orioles who dangled their nests out of reach,
the red-tailed hawk who screamed from your tower,
and more than a Century ago, the children who ran
around you when you were too young to be climbed.
We spoke of the travelers on the lane beside you
who passed on horseback or buggy, stopping only
for children to roll down the hill and catch up
or knock on the door of the house we now own
with a basket of fresh buttered buns,
as thanks for being a good neighbor.
What do trees mean to you?