Poetry Friday: Tree Fascination

Trees have always fascinated me. From childhood climbs to chestnut gatherings to planting hundreds as an adult, you could say I have affinity for these living, breathing magistrates of yards, forests, and parklands.

When I think about trees of my youth, several species pop into my mind’s eye. The scotch pine in the yard I knew as a young girl, the silver maple that divided our neighbor’s yard from ours, and the mountain ash flowering every spring, resplendent with orange berries in the fall, glanced at as I got off the bus in middle school. There was also a willow, so graceful but called dirty by my father who also loved trees – but not this one. When it died, it was never replaced.

Upon moving to the midwest in my mid-thirties, I didn’t notice the trees for a while. Busy with raising a young family and attending to the needs of three growing boys kept me from slowing down to recognize their beauty and the slight differences born of a different place.

The bur oak for instance, was never on my radar until I reached my fifties and entered my second chosen career as an environmental educator. By then, I was captivated with all things natural and anything awe-inspiring, seeing the world through fresh eyes opened by education, and those of my sponge-like students, curious about everything I chose to tell them about in our lessons. There was the crab in the school yard, the blue spruce that continues to survive despite a biology that makes it difficult, and many, many lilacs. One lilac in particular was used to educate school children about shelter butterflies need in our mid-western rainstorms, a place to huddle and wait it out.

Over the years, our own yard became filled with the fruit trees we could not help ourselves from buying. The rewards reaped from those trees have been bountiful – beautiful flowers, visiting bees, and of course, delicious fruit in several varieties.

I notice trees more. I read about trees more. I learn about trees more. This is just my personal narrative. Professionally, I’ve educated whole schools about how important forests are to our existence. I’ve met people who have made a birch bark canoe with their own hands. I taken courses just on trees and forests. In short, I love trees.

Since today is Poetry Friday, I feel compelled to write a poem about trees.

Grand Oak

Out my window is an oak.

Tall and scrubby, just like some folk.

Eagles visit, and hawks, too.

Perched upon the top for a view.

One day, I’ll look and you’ll be gone

Toppled by development or a wind that blew too strong.

Then, I’ll miss your scraggly presence,

For now I’ll appreciate your grand quintessence.

© Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

The tree. © Carol Labuzzetta, year unknown.
A different view of the tree. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021.
Eagle perched in the tree. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021
The oak out my window. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

Today is Poetry Friday. This week’s round up can be found at Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Jama’s blog is always a feast for the eyes! Thanks go to her for hosting this week’s round up!

15 Thoughts

  1. I share your tree love, Carol. We purchased a wooded lot 20+ years ago to build our new house, and do enjoy our trees through the seasons, appreciate their shade during summer and their unique skeletons during the winter. Thanks for sharing the pics and poem of your grand oak. So cool to see that eagle!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jama! I am heartened by hearing of all the people who love trees like we do! Like you, I am thankful I live in a four season climate where I can appreciate all the appearances trees make during the year! I love the eagle, too! (Another favorite thing I like to photograph!) Thanks, again, for hosting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There are so many directions that trees can take us. You’ve brought us such a wonderful trio: your memories and reflections on trees, your charming poetry with Ogden Nash-ish couplets, and of course your signature photography. This made me smile today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you’ve structured this post. Your memories made me think of my own memories of trees growing up, something I hadn’t really considered reflecting on. I found your poem to be fun to read bad could picture the oak (love scraggly like some folk!). Your photos added to your piece as well. Nature is beautiful and you’ve nailed that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Carol,

    I have been really pondering trees so much more of late. I definitely have so many wonderful memories of tree affection through the years, but not sure what has brought this to me of late. So your post really jelled for me. Quickly here are some thoughts/links/ideas that have been calling me or finding me of late:
    1. Invasive species hemlock woolly adelgid threatening the eastern hemlock in our region (Finger Lakes), They will die in 4 -10 years if not found and treated and they will destroy the watershed and without it the lakes cannot survive!
    2. emerald ash borer which destroyed an ash on the border of our house and the neighbor’s….sad.
    3. Champion the return of the American Chestnut by Walker which won an NCTE notable book in 2019. Excellent for upper elem and older and well-done.
    4. Bradford Pear trees. This link is interesting.
    https://www.wboc.com/clip/15200252/travels-with-charlie-history-of-the-bradford-pear-tree
    I want to read Lita Judge’s book on trees soon.
    Right now I am enjoying the new blossoms in pink and white and yellow that have just emerged!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny how regionality affects tree culture and local knowledge. I had forgotten all about eastern hemlocks – but knew of them as a youth – growing up in the Rochester NY area above the fingerlake region! (Small world!). We must not have them here – I haven’t encountered any or thought of them in years. I hope the disease is treated soon and those lovely lakes continue to bring happiness to those who know them. We have an ash tree that needs removal due to the emerald ash borer. It has decimated some neighborhood streets whose local governments used monoculture to excessively plant ash along the roads. I’ll have to lookinto the other books you’ve mentioned – thank you! I am currently reading The Overstory and The Songs of Trees – both I would recommend for any tree lover! Thanks, Janet! I appreciate your thoughts and time you took to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There have been numerous books written about trees these recent years, beautiful & sentimental or scientific findings of what they do & how they help each other. They are amazing & something to treasure which you’ve shown in your intro, pictures & poem, Carol. One of the things that was the clincher when I bought my home now is a giant over 100-year-old cottonwood outside my back door. I do treasure it, & have an old maple always in my mind from my childhood where I spent many hours climbing & reading. Your poem includes much that we all love about trees.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Yes, I am reading The Overstory now and enjoying that book. I also am halfway through a book called The Story of Trees by David George Haskell (2017). Last year, I also read two books on trees. They do fascinate me and I know I share my love for them with many – which I hoped (and, I think, did) make my post relatable. Your cottonwood sounds fabulous – we had many of those lining our church parking lot where I grew up…. always a sight to see it “snowing” in June (I cannot quite remember when they release their “fluff”.) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So much to love about all of this, Carol. I adore trees, too. I love all the connections (tree-to-self) you made in your narrative. Many memories and stories to go along with them. And your poem would be a brilliant mentor text. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I continue to be amazed by trees and all they offer us. I am reading the Overstory now and it is an amazing story of tree and human interaction. I so appreciate your kind words about my poem! P.S. I am behind on my commenting – we were at our cabin – my apologies!

      Like

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