Winter Hush and Chair Tree

snow_branch_snowflakes_cold
Winter Hush

Deep in a quiet woods,
natural seating provided
by a forked and bent tree,
I close my eyes and listen
to large flakes of snow
landing pat-pat-pat.

Chair Tree

Are trees aware?
I often wonder, especially
when I see a once-majestic tree
reduced to a trunk and stubbed
branches by a “Tree Surgeon.”
Does it cry for what it lost?

During my teenage years
I lived with my parents
on eight acres in the country.
We had hundreds of trees:
Oak, Hickory, Persimmon, Maple,
Sycamore, Sassafras, Pine,
and I mustn’t forget the Dogwoods.

One of our trees, and I don’t
remember what kind it was,
forked a little over three feet
above the ground. One fork
stood perfectly straight up;
the other was horizontal for
about two feet before it turned up.

Father wanted to cut it down,
but I begged him to leave it standing.
He looked it over, found no weakness,
and finally agreed to leave it alone.
I called it my “Chair Tree”.
Sometimes, when my chores were done,
I would go sit in that tree
to think and to dream of the future.

That day is five decades behind me now,
but I still remember it well.
If that tree is still standing,
and if trees are aware,
I hope it knows that once upon a time
there was a boy who loved it enough
to give it a chance to live and grow.
Winter Hush / December 10, 2005
Chair Tree / December 16, 2019

12 comments

  1. Hi Michael,

    that day is five decades behind me now,
    but I still remember it well.
    If that tree is still standing,
    and if trees are aware,
    I hope it knows that once upon a time
    there was a boy who loved it enough
    to give it a chance to live and grow.

    I love the way you now combine the two poems and the story behind that “chair tree”. I can definitely relate to loving the presence of a tree. As I have mentioned before on this board, both in poems and commentary, I grew up on 60 acres of property with most of it being woods. I often found a favorite place to sit, in a tree, to dream and tell stories, mostly to myself and the various animals in the area. But still, I share that same enthusiasm that this narrator has for the beauty and magic of a tree. And yes, I often wondered if they could think or feel. Somehow I believe they do. This whole thing, both poems are beautifully written in a quiet but
    nostalgic voice. It haunts this reader and I thank you for posting it.

    A joy to read,
    My best
    Wendy

    PS. There is a beautiful quote by poetic writer Charles de Lint that addresses the personal nature and character of trees. It is one of my favorite and lead to a whimsical poem I wrote called “Messaging in The Country” which I have just posted here. Anyway, here’s is the full quote by Mr. de Lint

    ““All forests have their own personality. I don’t just mean the obvious differences, like how an English woodland is different from a Central American rain forest, or comparing tracts of West Coast redwoods to the saguaro forests of the American Southwest… they each have their own gossip, their own sound, their own rustling whispers and smells. A voice speaks up when you enter their acres that can’t be mistaken for one you’d hear anyplace else, a voice true to those particular tress, individual rather than of their species.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Wendy. I would echo the quote by Charles de Lint. Every wooded area I have known – indeed, every tree – had its own unique character and personality. Both poems are true; I really have had the experience of hearing snowflakes landing on tree branches above me. The flakes were large, nickel-size or bigger, there was no wind, and there were no other sounds to interfere. It was literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    Like

    • Thank you Parker. You’re right, when you’re involved with it a tree becomes something very special. When we moved into our new home, 40 years ago, my wife and I transplanted two pine trees into our front yard; one was 5 feet high and the other roughly 4 feet high. While the one still stands proud and tall, the other inexplicably died about a decade ago. It was almost like a loss in the family, and we resisted the final step of having it cut down until the city sent us a notice to have it done or they would do it and charges for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure that was tough. I’m glad your other pine is still standing though. Trees really pay you back as the years go by, with shade and air and of course as a climbing spot for kids and cats. Hopefully it will be standing for decades to come!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael,

    This one is one of your best ever.

    It goes straight to the heart.

    “If that tree is still standing,
    and if trees are aware,
    I hope it knows that once upon a time
    there was a boy who loved it enough
    to give it a chance to live and grow.”

    Trees seem to have special wisdom and senses
    so I’m guessing it knows. Beautifully written!

    Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, my mistake; sorry about that. In my defense, I upgraded my voice recognition software yesterday, and it erased all my settings and all of my vocabulary shortcuts. So by the time I read your comment, I was feeling somewhat frazzled and didn’t understand the reference.

      With my paralysis, the only way I can travel is by ambulance. So it really is literally impossible for me to go by to have a look. Otherwise, I probably would despite my misgivings. Thank you again for your comment.

      Like

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