Friday, April 29, 2016

Stories in Bark

These trees behind my house. I reach out and touch the rough bark. Rough like skin. Rough like so much life lived and experienced. They are smooth and bumpy and whorled and straight. And I realize there are stories written here upon these faces. And I feel their life in mine. They have seen and observed and never moved from these rooted places. Deep they grow and tall they reach. And they have held so much. These fierce winters and these pale springs. Covering with shade in hot summer and blowing briskly and shedding their leaves in fall. They know loss. They know rebirth. They know it so much more surely than I. They have stood in all these elements and all these trials and all these peaceful times. They know the cycle more than I must.

Etchings in bark. Etchings creating art and stories. These brave slashes and those careless dances. I see the whorls again as if from a distance and my eyes blend in the vision before me and lose focus. I see it all now, bark dancing and remembering and expressing. It is a song of sorts but there are no notes. It is a symphony of silence and memory. And I feel this sweeping grandness and I feel lost in the dancing swirls as my own body leans toward theirs. They are moving of their own accord and I realize the tree is speaking to me in the way it knows. And I sway as I cross green lawn to the other tree - this lovely maple reaching so much straighter. And I notice gashes across the bark. Are they stretch marks? Was life forcing growth at the most inopportune times? Growth doesn't always respect caution. It takes and beckons and pulls and cajoles, sometimes against the strongest will.

And I glance again towards the apple tree and see those spirals. Spirals and gashes and arching lines and tiny spins. They each have seen the same stories but they have felt them differently. They have each expressed this art in a way that is unique and completely their own. And I stand between them and feel this union. They are friends. They are soul mates in this place and graciously they have let me become part of this life dance they hold and I feel their soft movement in the gentle breeze. I am part of their growth now. I am part of their story. I will become marks upon this bark - tiny speckles, laughing capers, and still sad pirouettes. They will hold these lines I speak and carry my story on long after I am gone and I will be remembered in their telling.

I look up into the apple's branches - so many reachings and so many crossings and little paths. If I were a fairy, I would creep along these knotted paths and I would inch my way across these tiny bridges. I would delicately rub that soft bud and I would wrap myself in sleep in that green leaf. Gently bending, gently stretching, gently arching. These trees are so lovely to me and they fold me into a trance of never ending depth and listening.

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