The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
Yes, you there…
step back from the edge of the precipice that you came upon, shocked now
with no warning
in your mind.
I know you are afraid. It was not this way for you before.
I am here for you as I have been
by no choice but through
A love that is not mine to question, that beats electric in me
unbidden like a heart.
You were fierce and feared.
You strode through the dark your chest puffed out like
a predator, piercing the night with sickly white fluorescent lights
as if the streets were hospital wards.
And they became so
Crowded with patients you called customers
Whom, it was said, only you could cure.
Now you shiver in the heat under the roof you constructed to cover your planet.
You shield your eyes
from seeing the harsh landscape
your very own handiwork.
Listen. This is how you got here:
You looked at me through blinders and called me a tree. Then you named me: Banyan, Live Oak, Maple, Sequoia. You wrote that down in a book
as if it was truth.
I became a fact you could dismiss or use as it suited.
That was your first mistake.
When you cut me and my sap ran
you did not recall the same stickiness of your own blood.
You did not believe we shared anything in common, certainly not
the atoms and minerals of the ancient stars that died to birth us.
So, I knew that our reunion would have to wait
until we had no choice. Like now.
I could see that you were too busy
to notice who you are.
You had to conduct a war against all that stood
in your way.
You ordered mines dug, swamps drained, earth smothered by cement
Now you are surprised.
How did your millions of miles of roads end here at this precipice?
Why does this abyss open before you?
You ordered it filled over and over, yet it opens again and again over and over.
You ordered the sea walls to be rebuilt higher again and again, yet the waves roar at them and walls crumble
over and over.
Your hand shakes as you grab at your pockets for your rosary of coins.
What is it that rocks the shale beneath your feet?
in the corridors of power, in the penthouses, on the chemical grass golf courses that erode the bones of ancients.
Now you watch the news and see
coyotes leap over the walls of guarded houses.
Mountain lions roam yards.
Bears rummage through your trash, swim at their leisure in your Olympic-sized pools.
You have homes hidden behind steel gates, but the animals know these woods and canyons; they have mapped the paths in their veins, feel the land in their hearts, see through the dark and know exactly what needs knowing upon the air.
Like a god, you proclaimed who could live and who would die.
Here now, at your winter home in Florida, you stand at the edge of a sinkhole
staring at your Mercedes filled with mud.
Nearby, as if in a dream, you hear someone saying words like
limestone, aquifer and underground cave.
But you don’t understand any language not spoken in banks.
You shout your mantra, Fix it! Fix it!
But the palms tower over you indifferent to your demands.
The alligators, robbed of their swamps, snap at your feet.
Seagulls ride the up drafts and down drafts laughing with ease
while you struggle to stay upright in the gales.
You thought your bombs were perfect protection
for you and yours.
Now you realize
you too would become just more particles in the radioactive soil
yet the flowers would flourish.
You reach into your vault of millions for your talisman of dollars and find
a time bomb lodged in one corner.
When this bomb is triggered by the last floods and the final fires even you
will become brethren to the lowest insect, the stalk of grass.
You tremble because you do not recognize this as enlightenment.
Now for the first time, you hear the alarms. Your senses open like a deer listening for the hunter’s next step. The weapon you wielded, your very own
has turned on you.
Listen. I give what I am made to give.
My breath supplies yours
“An acre of trees supplies 260 lbs of oxygen per year for 19 people per acre per year.” ~~Environment Canada
and cleans the air you dirty.
“One acre of trees consumes the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to that produced by driving an average care for 26,000 miles.”~~U.S. Forest Service
My skin and bones house you.
My roots hold the earth in place for you.
The soil in your fields that grows your food is comprised of my skin of bark and leaves. Even in death I feed you.
Plowed and poisoned, plowed and poisoned until
what grows now depletes your own children
children like those who toiled for you in distant lands.
This was your next mistake: You did not know how to destroy
what needs destruction. Or when or where.
You did not understand creation as the gift of destruction. Fire and wind were your enemies. You feared the power of water.
On the contrary, fire was my friend.
Lightning a pre-ordained, blessed energy.
The fires cleared our savannahs and marshes for new growth. The lightning knew where to strike and when; dried by time, I did not fight the burn. The seasons are a precise clock. In time I would return green and sturdy.
You, running from death,
Could never stop to learn from the river’s flow and flood.
You mowed when it was time to sow.
Demolished what it was time to save.
You understood only how to ravage
but not how to prune.
Listen. You did not see, or else you feared those who shared this place with you.
That was your biggest mistake:
Yet, if you look east, west, south, north, up to the stars, down to the valley you will see. What they call you is not what you are.
Your name is only a thing on paper.
To call yourself a tree like me is more accurate
though not yet enough unless you
Listen to what speaks quietly
in both of us: