I am old but
my memory is rooted deep.
Long before men built their houses,
my seed grew into a sapling
and I grew strong and tall
beside my brothers,
the oak, the birch, the pines.
I have been home to so many—
birds, squirrels, raccoons,
insects—some poor tenants,
others kind and beneficial.
I stayed true to my roots,
when my neighbors were
chopped down in their prime,
replaced by houses;
I took comfort knowing
they were still close,
their wood sturdy and sheltering
from within while I stood guard outside.
I have given humankind so much—
hope in the budding green of spring,
shade from summer's heat,
colors vast and varied to inspire
when autumn calls—
something to remember warmly
on cold and barren winter days.
The children always loved me best
because my branches started low,
making me easy to climb.
They sat as high as they could,
hiding where they wouldn't be seen,
singing songs, sharing secrets, and
dreaming of the possibility of all things.
No children have played here
for a very long time now.
I think I miss them most of all.
The seasons keep changing,
and I change with them,
growing in girth,
adding rings of history.
I am old but
I am not dead yet,
and my memory is rooted deep.

~Elise Skidmore ©2020

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