Sorry I haven’t been too responsive lately. Things have gotten busy!
Today two friends and I cycled out to the Bur Oak
Locally celebrated as the oldest tree around.
We rested in its shade
A frail old man with a cane arrived
Guided by a woman and a little boy.
It was evident his family adored him.
They spoke eagerly about what to show him next.
The old man saw my friend painting and was pleased.
He had gone to art school.
He was very honorable, soft spoken, knowledgeable and kind.
After they left,
Three carfuls of Chinese students showed up.
Amidst the clamor one of them said, without irony,
“It’s so peaceful!”
We got to talking.
Before we knew it
A beautiful slight thirty something woman
Was leading us all in a Tai Chi exercise.
She taught us Chinese words as we followed her movements.
Four motorcyclists arrived
In matching Harley Davidson jackets.
They found a spot amongst the roots
And made brash, cheerful gossip.
Of these very different people
Every one was here to see the tree.
Some casually leaned against it.
Some circled it.
Some squealed for a picture with it.
Some hugged it.
Some climbed among its roots.
Some solemnly sat and revered it.
How many people
Has this tree seen come and go?
What does time even mean
To something so ancient?
For most of its life
It had little significance
Growing up among peers.
And all the trees around it fell.
Why did it remain standing?
A farmer’s passing fancy?
Or did it have value even then to someone
Beyond all other trees?
Now it takes our human adoration
All our attentions, for better or worse
And still it stands
Trees know something we don’t know.
We play at their ankles like children
Drawn to what they have
But never understanding why.