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BellaOnline Literary Review
For Authors of Olde by Carol Dandrade

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Studying with Trees

Beate Sigriddaughter

This year I have studied with trees,
some at the ocean where fog
glides down through summer branches
instead of, as elsewhere, rising, some
even in city rooms where tiny spiders
celebrate a day of human absence
busy, weaving, and by night a few
fresh leaves fall on the bed to mark it
with life. My own heart grows
like a tree where years ago the lightning
struck the greatest branch, and the most
beautiful ever, I thought. She fell
to the ground with a great aching
thump, cutting a shriek into the dust
with the storm around us howling and
then rain thrashing some of the violent
music into steadier sounds. Afterwards
I tried to continue feeding her through
the last filaments of wood that still
connected us, thin and spliced, like
thread, like glass, like open nerves.
Sometimes an enchanting part of her would,
almost disconnected, sprout forth leaves.
Recently mild rain has taken the last
strand of fibers, and my sister, the wind
has blown her beyond touching
somewhere into the moss. And I am glad
I learned this in the company of trees,
not human knowledge that pressures
to assume that trees fear storms
and cherish only sun. Rather, they
stretch eagerly to all sensation,
and they have taught me that all growing
is a form of love. Now my heart
says I can come home, I am not so much
like a tree that I should stay here rooted
to the ground in wonder, rather I should
dance to join the storms, the sun,
and all else that nourishes this life.