From Look Winter in the Face, published 2015.


You say
Is that tree dead
or just waiting for spring
I say
Look there
leaves still on the branches
curled brown rattling in the wind
That tree was caught by surprise
I say.

Dead tree, photograph, May, 2015.

Dead tree, photograph, May, 2015.


11 thoughts on “Decree

  1. A willow in front of my house, across the track, succumbed to the severe drought and hot dry winds we endured during 2016. I hope to, when they come to cut it down, take a piece of the trunk and carve it.

  2. I know how you feel. Trees do not always let on just where they are in their lives. Like anything else, I guess. They have a lot of resources and don’t let go easily. I like that about them. Among so many other things!

  3. I second guess myself all the time as I once sawed a tree down to its stump (intending to hack out the stump at a later date) only for the dead tree to resurrect itself in the late Spring, with shoots and branches of leaves growing out of the stump. I guess it was testament to the power of hard pruning!

  4. Trees want to live! And they don’t give up. I recently read a book you might like, and you will never look at a tree again as a big old thing sitting out in your yard : The Hidden Life of Trees.

  5. There’s a lot of good stuff about trees in Hope Jahren’s “Lab Girl” too. I had an avocado tree that lost all its leaves and looked dead but I watered it all winter and it came to life in the spring. So I don’t trust my judgement on these things. (K)

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