The backyard forest preacher
holds silent service on Sunday afternoons.
You who want wisdom go, wait, and listen.
Look for where his roots draw their strength,
drink, if you can, from the same spring,
observe his proportions,
note the scars that teem with life,
watch his gentle sway,
but above all go on a clear day
sit, wait, and listen.
Can you hear him speak in the silence?
Listen as he whispers to the wind.
The wind is a cruel teacher,
just as time is,
for the wind is time
moving through this world.
All who seek to grasp time
will hold tightly to the past.
Learn from the tree,
then go with the wind.
Hold easy conversation on the veranda.
Drink wine on a summer day,
before the breeze carries you on,
through a window to a desk.
Work there till dusk
when the wind will blow you ever on
till you reach your rest,
with nothing of your own
save the warm breeze bearing you home.
Enjoy the breeze blowing this second,
before it fades or blows all you own away.
Sit with this tree and learn wisdom
from the grand-sapling of the old pine.
You can only pray your children sit
wherever the wind blows this tree’s cones
and do the same.