Tag Archive | trees

Autumn Pentecost


(a few bright red leaves amidst the more subdued mauves of our red maple)

Soon the quiet mauves that dangle on my lovely

tree will glow a brilliant red, fling out

their solemn joy across the plummeting

of brown and yellow leaves; for now the brightness

flickers only here and there, a kind of autumn

Pentecost, fiery tongues a-blaze amidst

the winding down of days, crimson

weight of glory, blush of hovering

presence in all the fadings, all the fallings

of the leaves and of our lives.


Summer Leaves


Luscious leaves splash through my

window, soaking thirsty bones in

layered depths of sea-green calm;

I sip the leafy cool, savor on my

tongue a strange and earthy tang,

taste of wisdom hidden in those

jade green veins; wisdom learned,

perhaps, from tiny wrens that

shelter in their shade, from fairies,

maybe, or from ladybugs and bees that

mince across their face to tap out

secrets from their lives; wisdom

sipped from beads of rain and dewy

fingers of the night, from buried

roots that hymn the mysteries of

brevity and loss, but also murmur

courage that can laugh at scowls of noonday

sun, can dance in raging storms, can ever

sing a song of strength beyond, beneath,

above, the fragile rhythms of each day.

Sometimes It Causes Me to Tremble

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I sip my morning tea and watch a tree of elfin

leaves a-quiver in a gentle breeze; and when the

winds whip up their strength to bluster through their

fragile lives, I watch them tremble fearfully;


as if they know the wind has

power unimagined in their tininess;

has traveled far beyond their

narrow ken—from Arctic cold,

perhaps, or from some arid desert strip;

spoken with the Bora, or the Mistral or the

Foehn; spoken in a thousand tongues to

whisper secrets of colossal power, of

fear, of joy audacious and immense.


No wonder, then, these wee leaves quiver at the

murmurs of this wind and tremble when

she boasts of all the hallowed marvels of this

world so vast and strange. Sometimes

she causes me to tremble too; tremble at the

power of Holy Wind that weaves this

fearsome, wondrous tapestry of life; tremble at the

tenderness of Ageless Wind who stepped one

day into our time and took on human hands,

hands open-nailed at Golgotha to reach and

hold us lovingly—each one of us,

               each tiny leaf,

                    each tiny life

a-quiver in the winds that sing their

joys and sadness through the

disappearing hours of our days.


Bare Tree

bare tree

(I pass this tree each day on my afternoon walks.  She has become a friend.)


Alone she stands, my silent friend,

stark, but stately as a queen;

bare arms splayed across a bright blue sky,

fingers caress the clouds by day, the 

distant stars by night.


She didn’t want to lose her leaves—

who willingly gives up life’s greens?—

but knowing dormant winter strength could not

sustain all that their lively work and play demand,

my friend insisted that they leave.  They were not

happy either; shouted protest, faces flaming red and

orange and brown; but in the end, each beloved

whooshed or glided to the earth, heaping one

atop the other, sloshing in the wild winds; a

macabre, playful dance of death.


She seems forlorn.  Of course forlorn.

How could she not be so?  Those leaves were not

mere finery she donned, but part of her, her

poetry, her songs, her prayers.

But heeding the primeval call to let them go,

she gives herself to winter rest, enclosed in roughened

bark that shelters, holds her inner strength against the

icy blasts, against the weight of snows that

sure will swirl and settle on her empty limbs.   


I stop and bow in awe of who she is, of

what she lives; and stilled, I hear her sigh,

profoundly sad, but strong and tough as well, and I am

sure—my soul bones tell me so—that far beneath the wind

against her bark—and ours—her memory, deep-rooted, firm,

quiet hums for her—for all of us—a dream of warm

spring ecstasies of green.



I looked out my window this morning and saw this magnificent view.

This Pentecost poem followed.

Fiery tongues ablaze amidst

the green of springtime life,

deep-rooted in an ancient soil of

sagas tawdry, bold, triumphant, worn;

drooping, lifting, swaying with the

steady winds of change; ever

new though ever old; each leaf so

fragile in its shining, so feeble all

alone, but coupled, linked along the

branch with other bright red leaves,

a whispered shout of presence and of

power from beyond that shines through all our

broken limbs, blesses every greening of our lives,

infuses all monotonies.

Come Spirit Wind–eternal, tender, fierce.

Palm Sunday


I looked out my window on Palm Sunday morning and saw this cross “shadowed” on the rock in our backyard.  I posted the picture on Facebook, and my good friend Jane responded with a poem.  Here it is:

In my garden

A cross shaped tree-limb shadow

Lies on the cold hard stone,

Which has not yet unsealed

The opening to Spring.


In my garden

X marks the spot

Where hopes and dreams are buried,

Until  green leaves and trumpeting blooms

Announce a Resurrection.


In my garden

A point where two lines meet

Show Earth and Heaven intersect,

In dreary places here below

As we reflect the Light.

Jane Cronkite


Shadow Trees

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Mid-winter blahs.  I realize one morning that for some time I haven’t been very attentive to the mysteries of life inside and outside my windows.  “But what’s to see?” I ask myself, weary of the sometime snow, the sometime shabby brown grass, and the always winter-drab trees.  And then I see them.

Strong and tall.  The shadows of my backyard trees stretch through my neighbor’s lawn, creep up his house and dance their limbs atop his roof.  Bold and stark and inky in their blackness; yet not the least bit sinister, they weave their way across the grass and fling the artful patterns of their branches here and there and almost everywhere that I can see.  So stately proud these mighty shadow trees!  Yet quietly they bow to winter sun, tilting first to west in early morning, then to north about midday, and finally to east as parting sun murmurs its blessing for another day.

Tomorrow there may be no winter sun; the shadows then will fold in on themselves, and nestled deep inside each tree, they’ll patient wait for sun to call them once again to paint their deep, dark patterns that will slice the grass, the snow, the ice—but always gently, always quietly, always without fanfare, always simply there, guests of the sun beneath the vast-arched sky that kindly wraps them soft beneath its ancient gaze.  A sky that wraps us too.  A sky that holds the hope that every mark and shadow that we cast will be as firm and bold, as gentle and as quiet, as playful, as artistic, as the shadows of those trees.