Words of a tragically inept poet and writer. Self exploration and observations of a phenomenal free spirit and thinker.






 

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Life Fully

Terri Ann Bird

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Terri Ann Bird / Community Writer, Poet, Dreamer

-Deadwood

I worried for four seasons

That the enormous dead tree

That perilously stood

Half on and half off my property

Would inevitably fall

Onto the roof of my house

I asked the neighbor if he’d

Split the cost to have it removed

He sat in his recliner chair

Without looking up from the television set

That was turned up to full volume

Tuned in with an old antenna and tin foil

After spitting a mouthful of wet chew into a beer can

And with bits of tobacco and stained lips

Said “I don’t see much good in it

but you can leave them cookies on the table

on your way out.”

I watched in Spring

The tree protest against death

The few branches that remained

Were 50 feet up

five little wings

Sprouting out tiny bud blooms

Bartering with the sun

Wanting more time

Earth elements softened the soil

around the roots

Wind and rain took the last of bark and branches

Nothing but smooth naked lumber left

Life and spirit stripped down to kindling

I watched in Summer

Ants chewing the old wood to pulp

Burrowing their nest deep under the dust

Woodworm tunnels marking their labors

Leaving trails behind them

Colonies of Bats flying out from the

Hollow tree top center

under pale moonlight

And in morning the tapping against the tree base

 of Red-bellied wood peckers

that had nested here for years.

Pushing their Summer forages

 deep into the cracks and crevices

For winter storage.

 I watched in Fall

The weather beat

Its final death blow

Watched the tree release

The last of its leaves

In wind shaken surrender

Witnessed the exact moment

That death became easier than living.

Heard the tree’s last verbal display of protest

The creaking moans of life passing

 And nature, it takes with indifference

 the perfection of a flawless system

giving as it takes.

I watched in Winter

The frozen ground holding onto

what the soil had released

snow and ice weighting down nub limbs

The last branches crashing down

Against frozen earth.

And then Spring again

One full cycle, one last ring

The neighbor had finally

lost his home to foreclosure

a vacant home cannot dispute a property line

cannot show ownership of a dead tree

so the date was set for the trees removal.

I couldn’t be there for the process

Only I could find attachment to a dead tree

Only I could see the brutality and generosity of nature

See the relevance and interconnectedness

Of these matters.

Coming home, parking my car off the shoulder of the road

The enormity of that tree lay in 10 and 12 foot pieces, six feet across at the base

Filling my driveway and land around it

The ground moved with deep gouges where pieces of the tree had fallen

All the consumed space where the tree stood left vacant and empty

I inspected the rings around the tree stump

Ran my hand over the grainy texture where the saw bit

Watched the ants as they scurried looking for their queen,

Carrying their egg larvae in locked jaws on the way to nowhere

Under one of the downed branches

Lay the family of red-bellied woodpeckers

A mother, father, and four little featherless blind hatchlings

Crushed under the weight of the matter.

The human condition is an imperfect system

Lacking grace, nothing at all like nature-

I thought about that family of birds

thought about the dignity of that tree

As I was splitting the last of the wood

Stacking it in neatable piles

To burn next Winter-

 -Terri Ann Bird

September 18, 2014

First Draft / No Edit / No Revision