13 Ways of Looking at an Oak Tree
In the center of the forest stands a Mighty Oak.
Its leaves turning yellow and red.
The Mighty Oak is getting ready for bed.
A child comes by.
Silver bucket in hand.
Her tiny fingers search through the newly fallen leaves.
Uncovering her sought after acorns one by one.
The bucket sings, plink, plink, plunk.
On the penthouse branch with a perfect view,
a fat red squirrel is arranging her cozy nest of sticks and dead leaves.
She’s aware the winds have changed, and winter is on its way.
This is prime real estate, and she is pleased her winter refuge is now secure.
Meanwhile down below another visitor arrives.
The grandmother of the acorn child.
She carries an old worn and tattered basket.
With eagle eye she searches the shaded ground,
longing to find the tasty morsels her memory holds.
The sun glistens, guiding her to her treasure.
With a quick slice of her old worn knife and a gleam in her eye, her basket fills
She smiles, knowing her granddaughter will soon be nourished with ancient love.
The nights grow colder.
The tree tries to hold onto its leaves,
More woodland birds take refuge in
its sprawling branches,
the best places now taken.
The child comes to visit again; her bucket is empty.
But her mind is not.
She discovers a hollowed-out space at its base, just her size.
Squeezing herself in its crevice of safety she becomes one with the tree.
The observer of all.
As the child grows, so does her hideaway.
She watches and waits for the jays in the trees.
The opossums, squirrels and woodland animals who playfully scamper about.
Slowly the Mighty Oak, filled to the brim with life gives up its secrets.
Both are happy.
But time is not kind.
Mankind has lost its the way.
It no longer honors its promise to keep Earth Mother safe.
The jays are gone, the hooting sound of owls’ dim.
The branches lonely for company.
Year after year, violent storms come to the forest.
Storms that devastate and destroy.
Leaving everything empty, silent, stripped bare.
The symbol of strength the cosmic storehouse of wisdom is shattered.
No longer does the Mighty Oak stand in radiant glory.
The long-ago child returns to the forest.
Her own little one swinging a bucket.
Bewildered, tears fill her eyes, the forest world she knew was no more.
Yet her heart knew where her friend had stood in its magnificence.
And it called to her.
Grotesque jagged edges were all that was left.
Where squirrels and opossums played, large shards of wood laid like tinker toys.
Do not weep my sweet child, the fragments whispered.
Tears will not bring me back.
But you and your memory of what was. Will.
Take my heart, take my soul, and recreate beauty out this forest’s destruction.
Sell its beauty, write about its importance, paint its glory. Use my shards of devastation to show all who care to look and really see what was and is no more. Rekindle in the hearts of all mankind the desire to keep their sacred promise to Earth Mother. To be kind and do no harm.
Go now, gather up my brokenness, take your daughter, our future generation, and carry out your destiny.
In the center of the forest stood a Mighty Oak
Its leaves turning yellow and red
But now that Mighty Oak is forever dead
A Gift of Song and Love
Peter Pan, Peter Pan, who are you Peter Pan?
Hop a little on your little left shoe, hop a little on your right one two.
Secret Laughing Place. Where’s that?
How I loved my records; large black ones, smaller red, and yellow ones. Ones that needed a spinal adapter. Ones that calmed me in a home of confusion. Ones that connected me to my grandmother who bought me my first portable Firestone record player. When family arguments started, I’d quickly make my way to my bedroom and sing my heart out.
This collection now sits in a plastic tub in my storage locker. Like my memories, some are faded, chipped and scratched, but have not lost the beauty of what they represent. The paper albums that kept my precious records organized have fallen apart from age. No, nothing lasts forever. But the gifts from those records have stayed and will be with me until I sing my last song.
I sing every chance I get. I sing in the halls, in the shower, in the pool and in the long hallways. I’m known by the maintenance men in my building as the singing Weaver. Even after 65 years I can remember most of the words to Penny Candy by Jim Reevesand (Sweet Angie) The Christmas Tree Angel by Arthur Godfrey.
I’ve protected these records and memories from childhood through many moves. They traveled from Roseland on the South Side to Mt Prospect on the North Side. And they saved my sanity through a four-year psychiatric hospitalization. I lost everything those four years, home, dog, possessions, but not my love of singing, nor the memory of my grandmother, who I adored, bringing me another record.
Even though I’ve lost the ability to play them, I know if I sit in my favorite chair and quiet my mind. I will be able to feel my grandmother’s love as I hear the long-ago scratchy voice singing, Peter Pan Peter Pan who are you Peter Pan?
My name is Jamie Lyn Weaver. I live at the Holmstad in Batavia. I am a member of the St. Charles writing group. Currently I am writing brief vignettes of what I witness as I travel through the halls and grounds of where I live. I am exploring both the pluses and rough parts of aging. As a former librarian, I love to read, and in my spare time, I make SoulCollage® cards. Writing and making cards helps me stay grounded in what’s most important to me and my life as I work on walking this Wabi -Sabi path of aging gracefully.