I’d Rather Be A Tree

I used to seethe, snap, boil, burn,
rant, rave, and storm.
That fury is gone, gouged out of me
long ago, like eyes from a potato.
Anger was not an allowance of mine and
it went where it could—inward where it’s
shackled to my bones.

I’d rather be a tree. I’m dead serious.
Trees don’t complain,
or kill.
They quietly ponder,
and perpetuate.
Peace is their mantra…

‘The first tree I ever loved was in my front yard.
It may have been an oak. I was little, so I don’t
know. Its tree-ness was all that mattered. On the
trunk of that tree, eye level with me, was a knothole
that my tender knuckles would tap on.
It was the tree’s
door, you know, and I knew someone would answer someday.
I just knew it.
No one ever did, but I continued to tap and tap and tap and tap…

When I was six, we moved away. A lifetime later
(or maybe twelve years) I returned to the city
and drove to that house. Once green, the house
was now white. The wooden trellis I used to climb,
still stood at the end of the cement porch I once
had colored with crayons. I saw my bike leaning
against the garage and remembered the day
I could finally ride with no training wheels.

I saw it all—the window to my bedroom whose
wallpaper bore figures of baby cowboys. I saw the
ornate white gate to the side yard that my daddy built
himself, and the empty beer bottles he tried to hide
just inside the gate. But what I couldn’t see was
the tree… my tree …it was gone.

Instead, I saw a red leaf the size of my hand fall from
the clear, still sky and land on the brown circle in the
middle of the lawn where the tree once stood.
I blinked back tears and drove away.
I never looked back.

The next time a tree glances at you, flags you
down, or simply smiles, tell it hello. Ask it to
sing you a song. One time, a tree sang to me,
I Want to Hold Your Hand.
I smiled—the tree winked.
That made my day. Then it told me
that it’s okay not to feel fury. I’ve never met
a furious tree, it said, have you?

I want to be a tree someday, maybe in a forest
festooned with fine, green-goddess splendor, or
simply growing beside the gnarly trunk of an ancient
Bristlecone Pine

What are you looking for?