Our son, Greg, who lives in New Hampshire, frequently takes his yellow lab Otis for walks in the woods, often along a logging trail which is easy to walk. On one of his walks he noticed that a tree that fell in the roadway was cut and pushed to the side to clear the road for the logging trucks. He noticed something unusual about this tree, and having his camera with him, took this picture. He sent it to me with this message, “There’s a poem in this picture.” And, needless to say there was definitely a poem which you now have as this Valentine’s Day Greeting.
The Tree in the Forest
The tree, once a scrappy seedling,
Vied with the others to establish a stronghold in the forest.
It grew in size and stamina
Until its leaves and branches towered over the others.
It bent with the wind in its struggle to survive.
Shading the forest floor from the heat of the sun
and the torrents of rain—it now lies lifeless
covered with a blanket of snow.
One day in its life it suffered a blight,
Its outer girth changing in shape,
But it was able to cope and adapt to the change.
As time passed, it too submitted to the ravages of old age
and fell to the ground blocking the road
for the logging trucks.
“Woodsman, spare that tree!” didn’t apply.
It was in the way of progress and submitted
to the woodsman’s chain saw
and was tossed to the side of the road.
It still had a message to send to the world.
Hidden within its bark, a notch created by its blight.
Now revealed to anyone who would take time to notice
Lay the outline of a heart,
The heart of this noble forest creature.
Its branches splayed sideways and upward,
Signaling the breadth of its spawning branches
And exposing its broken heart,
Sending love in all directions.
Oh, what a valentine to the world and to all those passersby
Who took the time to notice
And read its loving message.
~ Joan M. Lacombe
Poet Laureate of Aiken