Sticks are too small to waste her time with Only branches will do I break a nice big one down to 5 feet we walk down to the stream We could go on and on forever casting and fetching I throw it out beyond the bend she stops as she approaches it her face all perplexity and looks into the water just under her With a strange backward digging effort she thrashes dives her head into the water and exhumes a waterlogged 12–foot branch With glee, she trots back with it Sometimes, she’ll voraciously chew up an over–sized log dredged from the depths biting away in continuous joy and concentrated angst with the occasional bit of wood wedged in her teeth Sometimes, she’ll disintegrate the whole thing to shreds This time, we cast and fetch over and over a rainbow in each splash Too big for us to carry away in comfort
Not everyone needs to be overwhelmed by thunder and lightening Something tender and familiar strong but approachable We wink at one another and smile at how crafty such a powerful being in love is Considerate, rather
Luria Park, I knew since my youth On a field trip there, I found an ant creature Upon magnifying the water in a microscope It was there I learned that Lexi loved the water and was afraid to swim And walking back from there with her We bumped into and a cousin of Lexi’s, Nico and his kind owner Jim who suggested the path to the nearby lake where we’d later teach her to swim Then there are the two parks nearby which Evi and Anyu once graced which I go to for a change of pace Lexie even discovered the dog park by her own intuitive pulling one day And my brother suggested the nearby nature center which offered its own mystical stream journey under the beltway And that bike ride down Camelot which revealed the trail with a new, wide stream that I have yet to take her to And for all this wonder, she just wants to be fetching in the water
We cross the bridge and the water there is perfect, wide and deep with a soft beach for entry Cast, cast, cast Swim, swim, swim Fetch, fetch, fetch While Lexie furtively fetches I lean upon the rusting railing in repose After a fetch, I calmly gaze upon a pair of yellow–winged butterflies Hip, hop, hip, hop, along the beach One flutters a foot; the other follows Then, stillness; their wings parallel, vertical The moment holds its breath while still calmly breathing easy, like the gentle breeze that crowns us Wings open Her wings open in one majestic bloom neither slow nor fast not confident or timid but all those things and none such she unfolds her world to him He gazes upon her pattern while another epoch quietly breathes withheld breath He pounces upon her Her wings fly up, a Venus encircling him My heart exalts that such ravishing peace could exist in the world My brain, dizzy, torn asunder How long, I wonder, could this incredible little bliss be permitted to exist I pause, grateful for each second as Lexie pleads for another fetch Lest she bark, I contrive to throw the branch over the other side But, upon my first movement, she careens down the sand into the water He disappears She hops from one rock to the other and back to their love-patch in despair, love–lost. In a fortunate bizarre twist, Lexi goes under the bridge and up the other side Lady butterfly hops I wait, another epoch Just a half epoch He comes from nowhere and, instantly, they rejoin in their double–V Down the path we go, to leave them to the delight of the world I have to laugh at myself for thinking 30 minutes enough for eternity for, when we double–back later and I've promised Lexie a proper romp in the perfect water, I realize that she’s disturbed them again
Once upon a time there was a sapling. Sunning itself in the meadow, it was so glad to be alive. The shadow of his mother’s branches tickled over him as she said, “Look at those great big trees across the meadow. One day, if you grow straight and tall, you will be as big as them.”
The sapling gulped, the trees were so high. How would he ever grow to that height? Later, the sapling overheard his mother talking with some other trees. They compared their saplings with one another. The sapling burned with shame. He was the smallest of the saplings. When he heard them comparing one sapling to another, he felt like a little branch swaying in the breeze. And so, at night, he pulled out his roots and went around collecting discarded bark from the forest. Then, he cleverly started using the bark to assemble a larger tree around himself. Soon, the mother was getting compliments. “My how straight and proud your little sapling is becoming.” “My your sapling is well on his way to becoming one of the big trees.” This made the sapling feel so good.
One windy day, a girl sapling came up. “Let’s sway together,” she invited. The sapling was so happy to be swaying with her, but it was difficult, due to his bulky bark exterior. “What’s wrong with you? You don’t sway naturally,” said the girl, surprised by his stiffness. “You’re not my type. You’re going to be a tall, proud tree. A nice, stiff girl tree will make you happy one day.”
“Rotten luck,” thought the sapling. And, so, resigned to his fate, he kept busy building himself up. He built himself so high and his girth became so wide that his bark became a bit of a spacious home for him and he was quite protected from the wind and the cold.
One day in the fall, a wise oak tree passed by. He spoke ominous words: “It is a truth that a tree must burn down and then grow again.”
These words shook the sapling to his roots. He had worked so hard to build himself up, surely it would be tragic to have all that he crafted burn down and expose how small he really was.
Winter passed without anything bad happening. Perhaps the oak tree was just getting nutty in his old age. In any case, there wasn’t time to think too much about that because it was taking a lot of work to keep building himself up, not only up, but around on every side.
“Strange,” thought the sapling to himself, “the life of a tree is a lot of work, and not so fun. What kind of life is it to grow so tall only spend so much time constantly building up this shell.”
Spring days came. Trees sprouted leaves and began to grow. The sapling made busy trying to keep building up his exterior.
“My boy,” said the mother, “I’m worried about you. You don’t have any leaves.”
And the sapling didn’t know what to say. All this time he was accumulating the forest bark, he didn’t realize that he couldn’t fake growing leaves.
“I guess it’s because you’re just a very serious tree and don’t need leaves,” his mother said quietly.
Now it was Summer. While the other trees relaxed as their leaves soaked up the sun, the sapling felt suffocated inside his contraption. There was no proper ventilation and it was getting hotter and hotter. The sapling was wilting away inside.
One day, as it was getting dark, clouds gathered and the sky rumbled. Suddenly, a bolt of lightening struck the sapling’s tree and it burst into flames. Scared out of his wits and cowering at the bottom of the trunk, the sapling burned in anguish as the edifice he labored on his whole life was burning down around him. As the sapling cried, the flames licked his tears, turning them to steam.
The next morning, for the first time in a long time, the sapling felt the sun strike his very own bark. For the first time in a long time, he saw the blue sky above him. For the first time in a long time, the sapling relaxed, let his roots sink in to the moist earth, and swayed with the breeze. And it wasn’t too long before his very own leaves sprouted to soak up the sun. Then, the sapling began to grow for real.