I was once a sapling
No, I didn’t say a sap;
Brightly new, tender and green
Like a gift without it’s wrap.
Straight and true all day
Leaning toward the sun
Always back to upright,
When each day was done.
Like all things fresh and young
I had no thought of disease or age
Except to eagerly accept
Each birthday’s turning page.
Life was full and busy
School, friends and family;
Life’s landmarks came with ease
Grades and goals achieved, all carefree.
I took it all for granted
As if it would always be,
Until a storm with winds
Grasped and tore at me.
Roots long undisturbed
Came from the family tree,
Twisting and hurting
Treating me like mere debris.
I began to feel each slash
Each branch began to sway
My bark once protective and thick
Began to fall away.
I thought I deserved much more
Apparently life did not.
Brains, accomplishments and beauty
Obviously all for naught.
Nature, once my friend,
Placed roots and holes in my path
Every act or duty for me
Now held much aftermath.
I looked upward at the blue
And shouted, “Life can’t be this hard!”
Then along would come another storm
Leaving me more battle scarred.
“This isn’t what I had in mind,”
I shouted to the mist,
As each animal in the forest
Came by to take a piss.
“Now look here, I’m tired of this,
I can’t take much more,”
I wailed into the wind
Knew not who I should implore.
Then a soft voice blew into me
It said, “I hear you tree,
Do you think I don’t have care
To listen to your plea?
“I’ve heard every leaf you dropped,
Every flake of bark you’ve lost;
I saw the creatures relieve themselves
You know, we all pay the cost.
“Because you are a part of this
Life’s not springtime and buds,
It’s also blazing sun, icy winds
And cold harsh winter floods.
“You trees all think you’re special
And in your own way you are,
But that doesn’t mean exemptions
You each get to be bizarre.
“Don’t the birds still rest upon you,
Their song reverberating your core?
Don’t the wildflowers still nestle in your shade
With ferns, trusting you with their spore?
“I know your concern for changes,
The ones you’ve had to endure
But you need to recall, you silly stick
This life is but the overture.
“You’re no longer straight and tall,
You’ve begun to bend and break,
But you are a creation of mine
Which means you’re no mistake.
“I will always be here
And you can trust in me.
You just have to let it go
And become a leaning tree.”
– Sue Falkner-Wood 2013