Tree

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Tiny sprout,

    breaking through the smooth firmness of a seed’s protective shell.


Fragile seedling,

    gasping for sunlight

        beneath a dense canopy of maternal generations already centuries old.


Spindly sapling,

    conserving precious energy

        wrestled away from a greater, crowded, forest

            limiting its own girth and number of branches.


Middle-aged Fir,

    a century of growth,

        now just beginning to peak out

            above a canopy of lesser coniferous creatures,

                knowing only now the full joy of uninhibited sunlight.


Thick brittle wood,

    worn by time and storm,

        cracked by wind and disease,

            purging wounds with sap and syrup,

                yet standing tall for deep roots

                    woven firmly into the duff and decay of previous grand matriarchs.


Old stump,

    reminder of something once grand,

        whose future is past,

            and now holds hope only for others

                to root in this crumbling fiber of what has been.


Soft humus of long-ago memories,

    ancient strength,

        and a wisdom transcending the lifespan

            of a thousand generations of trees.


But is there not something more?


Hope and promise of germination in every life.


Sustenance for other communities;

    a dozen browsing deer;

        one hundred seeking squirrels;

             myriad molds and lichens and insects of every kind.


Security and protection for downy,

    nest-bound progeny of flittering avian wanderers

        and delicate perennial blooms tucked away from fierce April storms.


Cooling relief for summer-time lovers

    who seek the moist shadows of a dark forest

        in which to share a eucharist of their entwining souls;


The promise of a future beyond one’s lifetime

    for all who will touch and taste and understand...

        ...as immoveable towering timber

            is slowly resurrected into soft, spongy, fertile earth!


- Warren Lynn, ©1999

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