February 13, 2017
Writers must write, they say, and a journal can be a writer’s best friend. I’ve kept a journal most of my life. Lately, I’ve been re-reading old journal entries. The following “Ode to the Trees” was written seven years ago this month.
Friday, February 5, 2010—After a long drought, it’s finally raining. The winds of change are blowing. The rain symbolizes the tears of sadness shed by humanity for our misbegotten past. Oh, woe is us.
But look, we are still alive, breathing through it all, taking heart from the invigorating negative ions misting the air. They spread an aura of dust settling, after a long dry spell.
This is Earth renewing herself, in gentle, friendly spirit, as the trees wave hello. “We believed in you, and we salute your awakening.
“You have not killed us all, as we exhale enough oxygen to keep you alive. Who emits the most carbon dioxide anyway, you or us?
“We are the trees. We thrive on your exhalations. We breathe in what you breathe out, and vice versa. We are yin to yang and yang to yin in karmic symphony.
“We are strong but gentle, and we stand our ground, waving in the air, celebrating this triumph we call life on Earth.
“We are the giants, the gentle giants who comfort and shelter without leaning on you.
“We stand tall and proud because we reach for the sky, while sinking our roots deep into the earth that supplies the minerals, water, and all the molecules necessary to nurture us where we stand. We reach for the sun, trees that we are, thriving in the light and heat of the greatest nuclear power plant in the solar system.
“We require nothing from you, have survived many generations of man and will survive more. We watch cultures come and go, structures rise and fall, wars and fires sweeping the land. We have survived floods and hurricanes and thrive on them, to keep life interesting as it comes to us.
“We have seen plagues, pestilence, and famine, and we have compassion for you.
“We offer you shade under our branches, shelter from the wind, rest for your aching back. We offer wood for your houses and stoves, paper for your mills, and decorations for your Christmas.
“Love us as we love you,” say the trees, “and we will all breathe easier.
“We think you are cute, the way you run around, thinking you are smart because you can cut us down, grind us up, burn us and convert us to junk mail. We’re okay with it, because we are strong and durable. We’ve left many seeds, and we can reproduce ourselves. Our seeds can wait hundreds or thousands of years, hidden in nooks, crannies, dusty and out-of- the-way places that even squirrels can’t reach.
“So trees know small, in our genetic memory banks, as do we all. A lowly seed has the potential of the tree built within it, needing only the proper time and environment to thrive.