A Wonderful View



As I age in the world it will rise and spread,
and be for this place horizon
and orison, the voice of its winds.
I have made myself a dream to dream
of its rising, that has gentled my nights.
Let me desire and wish well the life
these trees may live when I
no longer rise in the mornings
to be pleased with the green of them
shining, and their shadows on the ground
and the sound of the wind in them.
~Wendell Berry ‘Planting Trees’
Deciding whether or not to trust a person
is like deciding whether or not to climb a tree
because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch
or you might simply get covered in sap
and for this reason many people choose
to spend their time alone and indoors where it is harder to get a splinter.
~Lemony Snicket from The Penultimate Peril

It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile

And then come back to it and begin over.
~Robert Frost “Birches”

The Privilege of Silence


We cannot find God in noise and restlessness.
Look at nature:
the trees, flowers, grasses all grow in silence;
the stars, the moon, the sun all move in silence.
The important thing is not what we are able to say
but what God says to us
and what he speaks to others through us.
In silence he listens to us;
in silence he speaks to our souls;
in silence we are granted the privilege of hearing his voice.
~Mother Teresa from “No Greater Love”


The Winged Keys



The set seed and the first bulbs showing.
The silence that brings the deer.

The trees are full of handles and hinges;
you can make out keyholes, latches in the leaves.

Buds tick and crack in the sun, break open
slowly in a spur of green.


The small-change colours of the river bed:
these stones of copper, silver, gold.

The rock-rose in the waste-ground
finding some way to bloom. The long

spill of birdsong. Flowers, all
turned to face the hot sky. Nothing stirs.


That woody clack of antlers.
In yellow and red, the many griefs of autumn.

The dawn light through amber leaves
and the trees are lanterned, blown

the next day to empty stars.
Smoke in the air; the air, turning.


Under a sky of stone and pink
faring in from the north and promising snow:

the blackbird.
In his beak, a victory of worms.

The winged seed of the maple,
the lost keys under the ash.
~Robin Robertson “Finding the Keys”


If only there were verbal keys as plentiful
as those that twirl from the maple branch,
words freed, ready to unlatch life’s secrets
and push ajar the doors of heavy hearts.

May we open just enough
to listen,
unlock horns,
and receive what falls
into our empty arms.




Keeping an Appointment

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.
~Henry David Thoreau


walnuthouseYou can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so venerable a neighbor, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night. 
~Denise Levertov

mapleWhy are there trees I never walk under
But large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
~Walt Whitman

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.
~Chinese Proverb