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Thursday, December 6, 2012


Joyce Kilmer, whose birthday is today, wrote "I think that I will never see a poem lovely as a tree." 

It is an immortal line, thoughtful, sincere and simple in its construction. A line, as anyone who fancies themselves a writer, that outlived the scribbler because it is just so easily understood by the reader.

But mostly, it's a thought that anyone who has walked the earth comprehends not because of its simplicity but because there is not one of us mere humans that has not at some point or another witnessed the glory that is a tree. Not so secretly, most of us form an attachment to one or several of them as we live out our days. And yes, we watch in mute horror when a force of Nature knocks one of them over as we stand helpless to do anything about it.

Trees come in myriad shapes and sizes, beings that grace just about all corners of this planet that we call home.  We plant them on special occasions, nurture them as time passes, and sit under them while they provide us with a modicum of shade on a hot day. We use trees to build shelters, burn trees to keep out the dark and make paper from them so we can record our deepest thoughts. Often we hold some of our most sacred rituals -- burying our dead, saying a bridal vow -- in their shadow.

Trees grow deep roots and endure as silent sentinels of life, qualities we humans aspire to and admire on a core level.  And while poetry is an art form invented by people, Kilmer was absolutely right.

Amen, and enjoy the wind as it whispers through the leaves.

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