Thursday, April 10, 2008
Trees of My Life
I look out my window and see you standing there, bending to the wind, Great Wise Trees . . . enduring all, protecting all. They tell me, at my birth, my mother laid me in a cradle made of wood. You gave your life for me.
I learned to crawl on wooden floors, my tiny hands and knees frolicking on your body. I grew to sit on a chair and eat from a table, both made of wood. My fingers touched the grooves in your flesh and from early on, I wanted you near me . . comforting and connecting me to earth. At that table I ate berries and fruit that grew on your branches. I ate pancakes too, and poured your golden maple sap . . . learning that you could feed me too. You gave your life for me.
I went to school and there you were . . . all over . . . everywhere. The floors, the walls, and desk I sat at . . . the words I learned to read were printed on the thinnest slivers of your flesh, papers written on with wooden pencils. All the words we humans think in our minds are written on your flesh . . . Dear Trees, you must know our every thought by now.
When winter comes and days are cold and dark, we burn you to warm our bodies and our food and you become an offering. Your smoke fills the air and rises to the heavens, calling out to the Great Spirit who created us both. You give your life for me.
I live inside your walls. You are my shelter from the storms you bear and must endure; my shelter from the sun and its scorching rays. Your leaves of green refresh my heart in spring and cool my brow in summer and your brilliance thrills my soul in autumn.
Now it is winter and your branches are barren.. Even the birds, who call you their home, abandon you for lower bushes and warmer winds. You stand stark and bare and I can see now where you’ve been broken, your limbs that have fallen, and your bark that is torn. Some of you, Great Trees, have fallen, some have given your lives and been chopped down to make once again, some comfort for me and my kind. You give your life for me and I learn from all your changes and forms and seasons . . . about my own life and my own seasons and how that calls for sacrifice too.
Man crossed the waters and the oceans in your body . . . boats and ships and oars. We have come to know our brothers on the other side because of you. You gave your life for us.
I wonder as I look at your branches touching one another in the woods behind my home. . . . Do you feel each other, sending messages, vibrations, stories of the birds you love and the wind that tests you? Do you talk about me and my children? Have you seen the suffering of man and breathed it into your immense compassion, so much so that you agree to die for us?
Even to the point of being buried in the ground with us, cradling us, wrapping us in your arms when our days are over? You are the cradle at our birth and the cradle in our death. And you and I will decompose together in the womb of Mother Earth only to be born again in other forms, in other times, in other lives . . .
Joanne Cucinello © 2002
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