Trees of the World

Surrounded as I am by many faces of beauty

Trees of every shape, color, texture and size

They create a complex unity of being

Unknown by many save in their dreaming hours

The Wholeness of the forest.

Can I choose a favorite, a tree beloved above all?

The incense cedar with its witch's broom

Swaying gently in the mountain breeze

The ash and its red autumn foliage

Hanging in the air like droplets

Grace incarnate to rival any poem ever written.

No, I cannot choose a favorite

One does not command superiority over the others

The broad-leafed maple and the needle fir

It is the distinctions between the two,

The complexity and the diversity is a beauty unto itself

Deserving its own praise.

The Earth has many wonders, each its own shape, color and texture.

Can one claim the better over all other places?

How absurd an idea, to presume an oak greater than the willow.

On a lazy noon-time street, the sky a brilliant blue

I stopped to admire the dappled pattern of sunlight

On a patchwork of leaves upon a cobblestone walk

I heard a sound opposite an ivy covered wall

A sound of joy and beauty

Of children at play

We should cultivate such sounds as we do gold

Though one be greater for us in the end.

What was hidden, not readily apparent

By the ivy facade of the high stone wall

Was that I was in Hiroshima and the children were Japanese

Their voices held laugher and joy

Indistinguishable from a playground in Mississippi.

The blossoms of the cherry tree are legendary.

Just as the forest is better served for survival

And its beauty complete and whole

When its citizens are diverse and free

So too are trees of the world

When viewed for their essential nature

The ever-present beauty.

The credence of freedom is best realized

When held in complex views

By different societies and cultures

In different forest we see different species

And yet the essential make up is ever the same

The citizens may change, the bonds between do not.

October 25, 2000