Tuesday, April 05, 2011

In the Company of Trees (repost)


My sisters and me playing on the Big Maple, 1952
Steven has posted a lovely homage to trees that reminded me of this past post.  
I have always found it very satisfying to be in the company of trees. Their solidity suggests strength, their rooted-ness implies stability, their forms define beauty. They are living breathing entities with whom I have shared a communion for as long as I can remember.

I first fell in love, as a small child, with the locusts and the huge maple that grew in our front yard. In May the two locust trees, one on either side of the porch, dropped their sweet, spring-scented catkins. The sticky yellow cases that bore them split and fell, littering the lawn. The maple was an enormous old tree that had a protuberance near its base that we children used as a seat. A sturdy limb reaching out across the lawn held our rope swing and under the board seat was a dusty circle where the grass would not grow, made by our pushing feet. In the spring, the tree would drip sweet, sticky sap. In the fall it was crowned with orangey-yellow leaves and in the winter its bare branches wove intricate patterns against a frozen sky.

In later years, I made friends with all the trees in my neighborhood, with the giant maples, the sighing pines, the eerie black locusts that lifted their twisted limbs to the sky. I came to know the elm that leaned over the board railing at the brook, and the sycamore that dipped its toes into the river where it curved around a broad meadow. I sheltered from the rain under the hemlock boughs in the back yard, planted flowers in the rock garden under the big pine outside the kitchen window, leaned against the birch tree at the edge of the lawn to watch the sun fade in the western sky.

Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve made friends with the trees around me. I can wrap my arms around them and feel their strength and immutable-ness when I am sorely in need of a hug, rest my tired back against a sturdy trunk, send wind messages to my distant children via the leaves and whispering boughs, and understand magnificence from their ability to endure.

10 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful post. Sometime during my wiccan years we did a group trance during which we decided that trees are the divine form common to all species. That thought is still amazing to me.

Hey thank you for seeing me nailed to the wall in that picture. Wow and WOW. Thanks.

Hilary said...

Beautiful post, Pauline. Trees are magnificent "creatures."

Brian Miller said...

nice...i am a tree hugger from way back...they speak to me as i walk among them and i often retreat there for comfort...

touch2touch said...

Once again you open my eyes to the nature that I never really saw ---

Teri said...

It seems to me that trees have been on the minds of quite a few of us lately. I wonder what they are trying to tell us right now? I, too, have so many memories about trees as a child. They were very prominent in my life then, as now.

Cindy said...

A beautiful post about trees.

Pauline said...

Reya - trees and I have had an affinity since I can remember

Hilary - thank you. I agree about trees being creatures. if one spends enough time with them, one learns to speak and hear tree.

Brian - me too!

J - good :)

Teri - your comment brings to mind the Ents, those marvelous trees in the Tolkien series

Thanks for stopping by to read and comment, Cindy

steven said...

oh pauline thankyou . . . the picture of you and your little sisters - well it's so good!!! your words are rich and ripe with memory. steven

Pauline said...

steven - you are always an inspiration

deb colarossi said...

That photo is absolutely incredible , Pauline.

and your words ... sigh.. beautiful beautiful