Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Statue to the Seasons

I stood alone on the plains and learned to bend at the whims of the winds.  In the beginning I was a little whippet of a tree.  My roots were shallow allowing me to drink in the water from the frequent spring rains.  I grew so quickly that my trunk did not expand and grow to give me the strength I needed to withstand the harsh winds and winters on the plains, so I leaned away from the winds until at last my trunk could stand tall and grow towards the clouds.  Then, I stood strong.  I knew to grow toward the clouds, the ever changing scenes they cast gave me strength and willpower.   I survived the storms and my family grew all around me creating a circle of cottonwoods all learning to dance while young and supple.  

The twins grew together west of my corner on the field, fighting for survival against the same elements I battled, and  yet, like a proud father I surveyed the lands and watched my saplings grow and change with seasons.    Droughts occurred and I stood still in the heat, my roots pushed and groaned through the dry black soil in search of water.  I let my leaves turn yellow and drop early to the ground in the seasons without rains.  

One year the rains turned to ice before my top heavy leaves dropped to the ground.  During the frozen night I felt as my spine cracked, groaned, and split, but still I stood strong.  More seasons passed as I stood broken and split and I waved and watched as animals on two legs, four legs, and those on wings came my way.  Noises often caused my branches to bend in search of meows and growls.  Many animals called me home and I protected them from the winds, cold, rains, and other animals. 

More seasons passed, and one spring as I gazed over the prairie as the sunset blazed and roared approaching me, not setting behind the lands end.  The deer ran, the birds took flight, the mice buried themselves deep between my roots, but I stood strong.  When it bit me, it felt like nothing I'd ever experienced.  It was a hot scorching flame that burned me and my family.  My browns turned black.

 My green leaves popped and burst and were swept into the ashen air.  When at last the burning sensation set I was stiff, stricken with pain.  The young sprouts around me were tiny black sticks still standing and pointing toward the clouds.

The rains came back followed by the whims of the winds, and I stood strong.  Once again the green grass grew tall on the prairie and I guarded those who needed shelter.  It was the season of brown grass and cold North winds that took its toll on my broken body causing me to fall.  My frozen limbs were no match for the endless days of snow and ice.  One night I felt the crack and suddenly the ground caught my limbs and heavy trunk.  
Now, I remain a statue now to the seasons, to those I protected, and to those who glanced my way.

Facing NE.  It stood like this for several years.

Bethany Krafels took this shot facing West.
Amazing isn't it, the influence of ONE tree.


  1. Very powerful writing…wonderful! nv

  2. Enjoyed this on the nature we live in and so much we do not see
    January 12 at 7:00pm via mobile. rj

  3. Enjoyed your prose on my trees! I have great memories of playing on and around those trees. Watching the hawks and other birds that used it as a hunting vantage point. Don't know how old they were but the big one was there & looked old when my parents bought the land over 50 years ago. Standing alone in that field they were hit by lightening regularly! Thanks for writing of them. cb

  4. This is such a touching tribute to Mr. Tree and nature. Loved it as it brought the tree to life as he told his story. Great job....a true talent for writing. gp

  5. What a beautiful old

  6. I'd much rather them fall naturally, than by county maintenance. pc

  7. Beautiful piece, Letty. Thanks for this "tree's-eye" view of life on the plains.

  8. I have a tree 20 miles north of here that my mom watched and I still do. I need to get a photo of it. She called it the "leaning Elm".

  9. Beautiful piece, Letty. I love the way you wrote through the seasons of this tree. Thank you!