To A Cottonwood Tree (Memories of Spring)

We are related. All life is, and all non-life; every particle of the universe.

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Your cotton fluff is spring’s silent snowfall. It carries through the wind, pieces of you, arms reaching out. So peaceful it is sacred. Far in the distance the fluff is pouring out against the sunlight, just falling and falling until, all at once, the pieces rise. They scatter and disperse along the path of the wind, sticking in white clumps to the grass. And, when the wind changes direction, so, too, do the waves of cotton. So, too, do the whistling, breathing, golden leaves from which they came, and to which they will return.

You trees have your own language, I suppose. It’s undoubtedly ancient, unknown and unknowable. Maybe it’s not language, but life’s joy, instead. Look at you here– young, old, close, nearby, fluttering in the distance. When I stand under you I smell the shaded rocks in the creek, coated in moss, sharp but slippery on my feet. I see the mysterious, wild tree that sprouted up in our garden, its bark covered in ants. My mom thought it was a weed; The Weed Tree, she called it. Turns out it was a young Cottonwood. Each summer–until we cut it down to save the driveway from its roots–I thought of climbing its lithe, thin trunk. I never did.

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