I wonder about the secret life of trees,
a refuge for so many insects, bees and infant knees,
Boys and girls, maybe even spirited grown-ups,
climbing up and away, higher and higher,
aiming for the uppermost branches,
not a care in the world, no fear,
knowing that the tree will hold them tight,
carefree they scale, like rock climbers,
scratches and scrapes,
part of the union with this force of nature.
I wonder about how the trees feel when they are borrowed in this way,
do they feel it is their duty to be trampled on and carved in:
Tom loves Mary, forever XO,
blades chiseling little pieces at first, superficial damage,
working away at the core, deeper, inflicting more pain,
for a piece of eternity, immortality etched upon timber.
How does that tree feel about being prodded and pricked,
a totem pole – mangled and managed,
a stake stuck at its base,
complying once again to these humans,
fulfilling their need to state:
“I WAS HERE. SEE ME. KNOW ME. ADORE ME.”
We leave an indelible mark wherever we go,
treading quietly, respectfully,
out of the question,
we have to announce:
“I AM MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE”
How do these trees feel about such arrogance?
Do they stand alone in their thoughts, introverted and involved,
or do they congregate, convening in groups as they are usually seen,
collectively concentrating their energetic powers,
using water, soil, oxygen, roots and a good deal of stillness,
to extend their branches like limbs, connect their roots like tentacles,
reaching out, closer, finally managing to touch one another,
and when they finally do,
how do they react to such self-important audacity?
Do they whisper, in a mysterious, impenetrable language,
the truth of the matter:
It’s all been a karmic joke. This human existence, a social experiment,
a planned adventure to see what we would do, how we would handle it,
seeing us fail miserably at this test of symbiotic life,
unable to grasp the meaning of community,
absorb our role in the planet’s ecosystem,
are they left to deduce that we are but ignorant and uninformed?
Are they murmuring, back and forth, through the travels of the winds,
“WE ARE THE MASTERS OF THIS UNIVERSE!”
I’ve often wondered why they don’t fight back when we take our
axes, bulldozers and knives, hovering so closely, framing our position,
cutting through and collapsing the still soldiers of peace, tumbling down to the ground.
Are they crying inside? Are they screaming at us? Will they have their revenge?
As I stare out onto this field of trees:
so confident and regal,
I have my answers,
as though transmitted telekinetically, a clairvoyant clarity coming my way.
The trees are telling me their truths and I know, deep in my bones,
that they are alive, more real and raw and absolute than any other natural phenomenon.
I don’t know if they are shedding tears or if it’s a beautiful coincidence,
rain starts to trickle down in sensuous waves,
creating artful trails of agony and splendour,
seeping into holes, hollows and cavernous grottos.
Silently, I weep, rivers of regret forming pools of perforated reveries around my worldly conceit.
I say a prayer in awe of the trees. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing left to do.
I wonder if you wonder what they told me or if deep down, you also are viscerally, acutely aware.