Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The telling of the felling

When I was in 5th or 6th grade, the world of poetry was opened to me by one of my favorite teachers. She would sit before our class, open a book of poetry and mesmerize us with its beauty. Her soft, delicate voice, barely above a whisper, drew us in. That's when I fell in love with poetry. It touched my soul profoundly. Today, I was reminded of a poem I first heard in grammar school - Joyce Kilmer's poem, Trees. 

Now many assume Joyce was a female, but that's not the case. Joyce was a man with sensitive heart. He wrote heartfelt poems that became memorable to aesthetes like me. 

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Today, we killed a tree. It was a large, beautiful Pine tree, over 100 feet tall and more than 50 years old. The tree was too close to our house and with recent tornadoes, we knew if it was ever affected by high winds, it would severely damage our home and may have even killed us. So, it had to come down. I didn't want to wound it, really I didn't. That tree had provided shade to our yard and had given shelter to many a squirrel or bird. As I stood at the base of it, looking up, I begged its forgiveness, but the reality of what we were about to do didn't hit me until I felt the ground shake hard as it fell to Earth. That loud, heavy thud shook me to my core. What had I done? In that instant, as the workman's chainsaw was still smoking hot, I began to cry. Only God can make a tree and only God should be able to end its life. But I'd interfered. I'd given the hired hand permission to fell the tree. 

A tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray...

I was sad. The fragrant smell of Pine filled my nostrils as I stood and watched the tree cut into

pieces. And then, as they pushed the segments into the chipper, it was even worse. That huge majestic tree was no more. That's when I made a promise. I promised the tree I'd remember it. I'd tells stories about it and make sure to leave a legacy. I'd write a children's book for my grandchildren. I'd help them understand by telling of the felling. 

And so I shall. 

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