Sunday, June 9, 2019

tree talk

give me a land of boughs in leaf,
a land of trees that stand;
where trees are fallen there is grief;
i love no leafless land.
                   - a.e. housman

i was given a book for my birthday ~
conversations with trees
stephanie kaza
she recalled her first experience..
her first conversation with a tree..
do you talk with trees?

i speak with most anything..everything..
the prius - mila rubie -
a stuffed elephant - babar -
trees - o yes..
ants, spiders, dogs and cats, of course!
tea kettles, yoga mats, bicycles - spike & shantidevi -
shoes, dollars, frying pans, ghee, hats, zippers, screen doors..
hummingbirds - well, any of winged the ones..angels!
unwieldy garbage bins, bells, cookies, each bone in the body,
pancreas, kidneys..every organ..the sun, moon, stars..
all bodies of water, pens, papers & pencils..books..clocks,
the laptop, the iphone, keys, vacumn cords, hoses, hangers,
jeans..too tight or toulouse..lamps, candles, holy moly images,
buddhas, guadalupes, ganeshas, jizos, hanumans,
shivas & their linghams..
but wait..
we were talking about trees..

my first true conversation with a tree that i recall
came when i had 6 or 7 years to my name ~
there from the beginning of time -
a tree in our yard in elmhurst, illinois..
my sister and i were introduced to this tree by
our mama who called him the box elder..
he was definitely an elder
and definitely a he to me..
toweringly tall with maplely leafy leaves..
utterly open to being climbed,
to be hung from,
to be swung 'round,
always generous and compliant..
silent, goodly and kind..
a most grandfatherly tree and the biggest in the hood..
we gathered there often ~
'neath the compassionate shade tree..
for picnics, parties and cool downs..
on our backs gazing up, up into the green expanse..
the sky shimmering thru just enough to keep us on planet..

we lie on the earth;
to keep from falling into the stars,
we reach as wide as we can and hold onto the grass.
                                             ~ william stafford

there was a weekly climb..maybe even bi-weekly..
in summer, an every day climb..
- the tree was the gathering place -
all the neighbor kids would simply show up
and climb aboard..
that is..
my first entrepreneurial premier start-up!
i had heard my parents speak about insurance..
though i thought they might have said assurance ~
no matter..
i was onto something..

when the clans and tribes arrived one morning,
i spoke to them with fervor about the need for assurance..
only 10 cents would assure their safety ..
if they fell, they most assuredly would get their dime back..
a few walked away, scratching their heads..
others scampered home for their allowance..
many returned with a shiny 10 cent piece..
which i collected and kept in a glass pill jar
exactly the diameter of a dime..
( i have it to this very day )
my stack of coins was growing and i needed a second bottle.
so...i emptied out a prescription of my father's
and my assurance fund grew to two pill flasks..
that is..
the entire neighborhood -

it's a beautiful day in the neighborhhod. 
a beautiful day for a neighbor.
would you be mine?
could you be mine?
won't you be my neighbor? 
                 ~ fred rogers

- contacted my family tree and said .. whoa!
already heartily reprimanded
for emptying dad's pill bottle
and now for charging the neighbor kids for their climb..
i was instructed to return every last assurance dime
that i had summoned to my person..
and in no uncertain terms ..
(whatever does that mean exactly?)
never to do either again...

thereafter, the good-natured tree
was free climbing for all..
woebegone, i clambered up to my look out
for solace and to offer my meek apology to the elder..
feeling, somehow, i had harmed him
with my business venture..
when i reached my perch at the tree top
(the top for me, that is)
the elder spoke to me in his mysterious susurrous voice ~

all will be well -
without fail - your glass pill flask will be filled just enough -
rest assured, you will always - always, i say.. 
be enfolded by a mighty bough embrace
that will forever lift you up to higher ground..