To Be a Tree

Balboa Park tree in San Diego, California.
Photo by SR Dryja at Balboa Park, San Diego.

By Sherry Dryja

I want to be a tree,
rooted and sure in my earthy ground,
reaching out to the sun with my branches,
tantalizing the world with my blossoms,
winking at the birds with my fluttering leaves,
providing homes to birds and squirrels and possums.

I want to be a tree that is,
that just is,
exactly a tree
and only that
perfection of trunk
and bark
and branches
and long roots
and gnarls
and twigs
and leaves–
glorious leaves which almost sing when the wind blows through them.

And when I die,
when my roots grow weak
and they loosen from the ground,
when the day comes that I can no longer stand straight and tall,
I want to be blown over by the wind
and land hard and fast on the ground
to become regal but hollowed-out homes for other creatures,
feeding the earth with my remains,
and know that my life mattered because I lived.

Tree roots, Balboa Park, San Diego
Roots of a tree in Balboa Park in San Diego. Photo by SR Dryja.