Alas, the diagnosis was fatal. We lost Lady Cottonwood, and our protective Papa Spruce.
The bones of our brown barked wonders were chipped into mulch, and scattered lovingly along the woodland paths behind our home.
My little army of neighborhood munchkins banded together, and worked their cutie- patuties off, hauling mulch with me all morning. I rewarded them by cooking up some hotdogs, and churning a batch of homemade ice cream. Then I surprised my sweaty woodland kinder-nymphs with an Awards Ceremony. Silly string, glow sticks, and balloons went to recipients of "Dirtiest Kid, Sweatiest Kid, Kid who spilled the most mulch, and Kid who carried the heaviest bucket, etc.
We made a big deal of the formalities, and the children LOVED it. They pushed themselves beyond their limits, committed an act of service to an arthritic ol' hippie lady, connected with nature, succeeded in the completion of a large task by working as a group, and then topped it all off with a Bodatious PARRR-TEE!!
*Not a bad way to spend a summer day.
When all the hub-bub was over, and the quiet hour of gloaming rustled across the breeze, I sat back in my rocker on the deck, and reflected:
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
The Poet, Joyce Kilmer served in WWI with my Great-Grandfather, Will Sands, and Will's son, my Great-Uncle Inky. Will was the leader of the military band.
In WWI, France, the fighting was so intense, the band traded their instrumentss for guns, and joined the boys in the trenches. Will and Inky fought alongside Joyce, and witnessed his death.
This is a photo of my Great-Grandfather leading the musical portion of Joyce Kilmer's funeral.
Mulching the yard with my kids, leads me to think of a poem, that ties to my history, and inspires my dreams.
That poem, for me, is a symbol. A symbol of my purpose in this life.
I want my life to have meaning. I want to use my energy to promote conservation, so that my Great, Great, Great Grandchildren will be welcomed and loved by our dear Mother Earth.
And I want to be remembered, and have just a little tiny piece of my spirit resonate across eternity.
That would give me such great peace, at my death.
That's why I write. In the hopes that my billions of clumsy random keystrokes, might one day produce some little something, inspiring and memorable, like the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer
I don't seek greatness or fame in this life, but I do desire, to use my life, to drop one small pearl of perfection, into the eternal, rippling waters of time.
I admit, it's part ego; part, giving the finger to the Reaper. But it is also, even more so, a desire to give a tiny humble something, as a thank you, for this wonderful life.
Joyce Kilmer's Great-Granddaughter says, "Though some call him a "great poet," I believe it is fair to say that his work showed promise; that had he not been struck down in his prime, his talent would most likely have developed in later years into something approaching greatness."
She is right. He may very well have. But life is short; often too short, and greatness is not the real gift anyway.