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Posts Tagged ‘cottonwood’

From the Cottonwood

I want to hear the song in the old cottonwood tree

outside my window, the tired xylem, the weary phloem,

the rough hymn of the ancient bark. I want to know

how, despite fatigue, it continues to flourish,

to push new cells through the tips of the twigs,

how it thickens despite long drought.

I want to hear the dark lullaby of the worms

as they move through the loyal roots—

what do they know of persistence?

And the dappld shadow that continues to grow,

what might it teach me of love?

Let me be the student of the limbs

that broke off in the wind. Let me listen

and listen again. There is too much

I think I know. I’ve been singing the same

familiar songs so long I began to believe

they were gospel. Oh, how I’ve loved the psalms of green.

Let me sing them while they last. And then, may I learn

to love the song of emptiness, song of surrender,

song of whatever comes next.

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IMG_0984

 

When it was a branch

on the cottonwood tree,

the driftwood never imagined

it could travel—

and now look at it, softened,

smoothed, riding the current.

Oh heart, what have you

yet to imagine?

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You have to be able to imagine lives that aren’t yours.

            —Wendell Berry

 

 

And so today I’m the cottonwood

in the yard, the one we planted twenty years ago,

the one my son used to climb,

the one that we hang bird feeders from, and pinatas,

the one that even now is losing its leaves,

and I imagine standing there year after year,

fall after fall, now after endless now.

What is now for a tree? How different

is now from infinity? I imagine being

my own soaring cathedral, my roots

always thirsting, my wood growing

to seal my wounds, my branches

always chasing the light.

 

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Cotton

 

 

It’s easier, perhaps, to understand the acorn.

A shell. A cap. Something tender inside

with the potential to grow a great oak.

 

But cotton? Harder to understand the tiny seeds

wrapped in white gossamer strands—

tiny parachutes that slip through hands.

 

So few survive, but those that do

live a hundred years and grow faster

than any other American tree.

 

They’re like ideas—weightless. Able

to travel long distances. Mostly disposable,

but then once in a while,

 

one of the 25 million seeds

released by a tree will take root.

I’ve felt it happen inside me—

 

how it starts so small. How quickly

it grows, changes the landscape. How soon

you can’t imagine the world any other way.

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One Resilience

my heart a cottonwood seed

landed on rock instead of soil—

love says, time to trust the wind

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Falling

It is good
to ache with love.
Tonight
the empty
cottonwood arms
let the moon
escape.
Earlier
they threw
all their leaves
and made a path
of gold.
I walk it
in the dark.
It is all
so beautiful,
so empty,
cold. I take
the long
way home.

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