Tree School

When I’m with the trees, 
they never make me feel

Some of them have been there,
bearing witness to all
my joys and hurts,
for over a decade.
We’ve grown together.

They remind me that
seasons change
and that what I thought
was dead
is sometimes

They teach me about
weathering storms
and how a tough exterior
forcefully pulled off
by strong winds
reveals a smooth,
vulnerable interior

They remind me
to look up,
to remember
my place in things,
while remaining
firmly rooted
to the ground.

They reward me
with their intimate secrets
when I take the time
to gaze in wonder,
to lean in with curiosity,
to reach out to touch the bark
and inhale the scent
of their blossoms in spring,
and listen to the music
of the wind in the leaves.
It sounds just like waves
crashing in the ocean.

They invite me to remember
long-past moments of quiet—
gazing up at the branches overhead
when I was a child,
lying by the pool
in the summertime.

I remember jumping into
piles of their leaves
in the fall
and decorating their
fragrant branches
in winter.

That was long ago,
before I knew to feel

~Lindsay L. O’Connor

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