Thursday, November 10, 2011

TREE poetry


Everyday a new poem appears in my mailbox. Today's poem was about TREES. I was raised by a grove of Eucalyptus trees, in the undeveloped San Fernando Valley. They taught me more about life than almost anything else.

Michelle Taransky's poem contains trees, rivers, woodworking and the things we do. But mostly its about loss, change, relationship, understanding--and those huge gaps--where SPACE lives, always eager to swallow us up. It was while sitting on the trunk of a tree my father had cut down, that the meaning of life, pulled me into its mystery. I was 10 years old.


This— The best tree
 27 yr old 'ME' at a Eucalyptus Grove 

Is sick now, now discuss
Where to look, discuss:
The cause, and, if
Possible, discuss who
Could have prevented
The workers who are working
To prevent, and if it happens then
Prepare to discuss how bodger* will
Recognize people saying "sick"
Everywhere, discuss how to handle
Discussing one sickness as if
That sickness is the other
Sickness— Ok, sickness
Ok to say ok discuss
Discuss the landscape
When it changes from woods
To sorry. To not the ideal
Tree to use as the marker
Beginning a discussion by a river
May confuse explanation with
And, how to avoid, when I say I need
A new chair to work, you think:
I am using the chair as a metaphor

by Michelle Taransky

* A bodger is someone who works with wood


     Early one morning, nearly a year ago, the majestic Live Oak tree that has been growing for decades at the edge of our property, crashed to the ground, demolishing all that lay in its path. Life's 'BEFORE' was magic charm with flagstone steps across the green. 

. . .  a courtyard gathering place with climbing vines, shade, and festive colors

The THUD woke me up--literally--out of one life and catapulted me into a very different world.

My inner landscape was emptied out, as well.

Strange how realignment can 'take away' what has felt like "given's" 
to open up gaps and vistas,
where barriers and boundaries once prevailed.

Now, nearly a year later, the 'AFTER' of our front yard still looks empty and barren. 

Our neighbor drove home from work, after she got my call, to survey the damage. The tree was on her property. Both of us were drawn to this stretch of land, largely because of the lovely old oak at the common border.  

     "How bad is it?" she asked me over the phone.
     "Prepare yourself. Half the tree is laying across our yard and blocking the entire street." I explained. We stood in her driveway embracing after she got out of her car, still stunned.
     "I wonder what this means?" she murmered, "This is no small things that's happened here." Her astonishment was intermingled with the awe that happens when Nature's force makes us small. And her insightful trust that Life creates out of pattern, somehow.
     "Nothing will ever be the same." I whispered back. But even then, I had no idea how drastically the entire tapestry of our lives would be affected. 


     In the aftermath of dealing with debris, rupture and repair, our family faced upheavels to pocketbook, heart, and the essential 'identity' our property had embodied. There is much more LIGHT and SPACE everywhere--on every level--as a result. Unseen consequences continue to ripple out. The fabric of interpersonal dynamics initially mirrored the disarray of the parched, unruly wasteland out front. Both were equally disrupted (exposed) by the vibratory THUD that shook the house that morning. 

     Although I would not want to relive this year again, I am grateful and amazed at the transformations. Sometimes it takes an external nudge to disrupt the status quo; to start THE CONVERSATION rolling. Reading the words of Michelle's poem, I recognize this sense of wading into uncomfortable territory with hard questions and unwelcome consequence. How one has to push through layers of resistance:

Ok to say ok discuss
Discuss the landscape
When it changes from woods
To sorry.

     So many layers exist. They serve their purpose well: to shield and deter. Yet, pushing through these layers, anyway--because we are forced to do so OR because Life simply makes things impossible to ignore--we cross 'forbidden' safeguards. We enter awkward truths and grieve what must be seen; done; known. This includes facing the programed scripts of condemnation that come with "sorry". These and so much else, fall like dead leaves into the SPACE that holds it all.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please add your thoughts here in the comment section! I'd love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by, Gratitude, Stephanie