You, old man, with your hidden rings, I can guess your age. I measure your circumference in inches, divide it by pi to get your diameter, and multiply that by a growth factor of four. I calculate two hundred years stationed along the river, rooted, moving out and up. Your white bones clacking against blue sky. In your youth, the last of the Delaware, Wyandot, and Shawnee walked along the banks, driven west to the confined prairies of Oklahoma. Settlers from the East had arrived, roosting in the hollowed trunks of your older, wider kin, while they built sturdier shelters. You have seen floods and droughts. You arched your spine toward the river when they laid railroad tracks in the 1850s. Did you hear the college men singing up on the campus? Did they come down from the hill and climb your limbs? How many generations of raccoons found warmth inside you? The fog settles on your leaves after the thunderstorm and lifts again by morning. The train left tracks behind 65 years ago, today covered in asphalt for bicyclists and joggers. They are much quieter, though the road that runs parallel to the river carries cars and trucks at 50 miles per hour. The exhaust drifts your way but still you stand, protected on all sides by legal agreements that shield your roots from bulldozers. But what I want to know is who fell in love at your mossy feet, played hide and seek around your widening waist, carved a heart into your shedding bark?
I love this! I enjoy a tree as much as the next person, but in a thoughtless “there’s a tree” way. I love how you imagined this sycamore’s history and made me imagine it, too.
I forgot to add that the photo is beautiful, too.
Thanks, Cyn. It’s a gorgeous tree. Appreciate the comment.
This is really great. It paints such a wonderful picture in my mind, without having to look at the beautiful photo. Great job!
Thanks so much, Cindy!
I absolutely LOVE this, Meg!
Sycamore’s are by far my favorite tree. I have a huge one that protects my garden and several more that line the creek banks. You captured its essence in the most beautiful way. It makes me want to write about my tree, too.
How I miss you, my friend! Always nice to see you comment. I envy that you have a sycamore tree. Are you writing? Doing well? Come back! xoxo
Any chance you have an Instagram account? I have several pictures of him (the sycamore) on there. He’s a beauty!
I am writing – a lot! I just got my first piece published in a little journal last week. I’m thinking about trying fiction/poetry again, so I may be back over to YeahWrite very soon. How are you?
Oh, girl, we need to get caught up don’t we!?!?
Yay for publishing!!! Yes, we do need to get caught up…will try to email soon. xoxo
monkey hope someday monkey make word picture so good as meg make.
Mr. Socket Monkey, everything you write is a joy to read. You are much beloved. Thanks for your kind comment.
Reading your stories is always moving in some good way, Meg. In 13 lines, I grew to admire that tree:0)).
Awww. Thanks, Beth! Really appreciate your comment.
What I love about this: the known history that you bring forward, and the mysteries of history that we’ll never know. Histories and mysteries — two things I really dig. Thank you!!
Thank you for your kind reading and comment, Delida. I hope you post at yeah write again.
I loved this. I’ve always liked trees in general, and you brought this one to life. 🙂
Thanks, Michael! Sorry I haven’t been around on the fic|poetry grid and have missed some of your pieces. I’ve been taking a nonfiction workshop here in town and have been focused on these short essays. I miss your world, though.
That was so beautiful 🙂
As always, thanks for your generous reading and comment, Cheney.
Wow. Beautiful observations of something that has witnessed so much more than we ever could.
Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment, Michaela. Please come back!