A Life Unexpected – For a Tree

My father pilots his tree-beaten log hauler through the forest

The season is not fall or autumn, it’s firewood-gettin’ season

I sit next to him – two bottles of water, two apples and my mixed feelings between us

The Ford blue truck halts in front of a colossal, upright, bloodless tree

I watch my mixed feelings drift out the cracked-open window

Like warm breath caressing cold air

We are only after the dead ones – relief like rain after a devastating drought

Roaring chainsaw, crashing lumber, I smile

Surprise at my upturned lips flows into recognition

I am this tree

Standing tall among it’s kind

It doesn’t realize its sap has dried up

The roots have loosened their grip on the earth

It bears seeds no more

No fuzzy buds of new growth

There are no brilliant leaves to shed this year

Its skin is mostly gone, exposing it to disease and infestation

The chain bisects this mighty tree and reveals rot, powdered wood, loosened soul

A dazed, evicted mouse bounces away

It’s comfortable life – interrupted – not allowed to fall in it’s own time

And remain on the forest floor to fertilize the ground as it decays

It’s saplings look on as we claim it for fuel

What once was dead

Brings heat, comfort

Peace of mind in the approaching winter

A second chance to complete its purpose

The cycle of life, soul restored

In the most unlikely of circumstances – for a tree

*Inspired by the lyrical voice of E. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News – my current read – and forest excursions with my father