Monday, January 16, 2012

Breaking Bark

Long legs waving back and forth,

I have, at last, found a tailor-made perch to sit and wonder.

The smell of brown bark, nearby pine and some still damp earth

are the scents that I smell, here.

And it is my resting place.

At 50 (now) when I spy a tree limb--strong, and sufficiently horizontal;

close to the ground, my mind goes back to this--the sacred spot,

in the low lying tree just two houses down from my safe, yellow, front-porched Milwaukee bungalow.

In this—my tree limb resting place, I am invisible. I am surely, of the divine. And I am more than a front porch traveler and bigger than a child.

I would sit here…and quietly (and privately) allow my own mind to wander and my own thoughts to spread out some, a bit. In this, my protected and much coveted place, I was allowing my mind to grow. Did the tree know this? Did it feel my groaning, too?

They say that when a tree grows it breaks its bark. Perhaps I too, was breaking my bark.

What better place to do this, than in a tree?

Maybe it was just idle time, but in this, the resting place--

to me, a girl of just eight, or nine and ten, it was legs dangling, arms holding, hair blowing, sunlight dancing, breeze playing, leaf wiggling, one leg flopping…bird singing me-time.

(My mother would say that as a somewhat self-centered, first-born child--I have, perhaps, always been good at this.) And I smile.

But I have found it useful still, to preserve, to hold fast to, and to cultivate my own playful, watchful, solitary, just-for-art eye. For, the more that I look, the more I see, in the splendid world of solitude.

My world is (much) bigger now, but long for-I do, the tree,

and (perhaps) my childhood innocence…

but more than this—

the supreme sense of wonder that it held.

I might add that--

as a still wandering and now-fully-grow’d-up young women,

I am perpetually lingering and in a semi-permanent state

of watchfulness for it.

Or is it that we, each, try…to go back home?

…Me to my tree, and you, to your river.


  1. I have always liked solitude, too, - although sometimes I get too much of it. (And I am a middle child.) Your tree makes me think of the huge oak tree that I used to climb at my grandmother's house. I would sit and watch the world go by, unobserved.

  2. "I would sit and watch the world go by, unobserved." I like that, Lynn.

  3. This takes me back to places I wandered in and to in my childhood that were almost sacred though I don't think I thought of them that way at the time. Just beautiful, lg.

  4. Hey Talon! So glad that you stopped by! I think the sacred places and state of mind that you found as a girl helped shaped your beautiful and watchful eye. I wrote this piece as an exercise for a poetry group that I attend (it was 'themed.') Wish you (and Lynn) could attend with me! We meet at our local library!


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