Monday, January 21, 2008

In My Garden Grows a Tree

Birthday Party for the Trees at

In my garden
grows a tree,

Dances day

And night for me,

Four in a bar

Or sometimes three

To music secret

As can be
Nightly to

Its hidden tune

I watch it move

Against the moon,

Dancing to

A silent sound,

One foot planted
In the ground.

Dancing tree,

When may I hear

Day or night

Your music clear?

What the note

And what the song

That you sing

The seasons long?

It is written

Said the tree,

On the pages

Of the sea;

It is there

At every hand

On the pages

Of the land;

Whether waking

Or in dream:

Voice of meadow-grass

And stream,

And out of

The ringing air

Voice of sun
And moon and star.

It is there

For all to know

As tides shall turn

And wildflowers grow:

There for you

And there for me,
Said the glancing
Dancing tree.
From Collected Poems for Children by Charles Causley

Ima on and off the bima's recent post inspired me to post this.

It's Tu B'shevat. We went to a Tu B'Shevat seder yesterday and it was lovely. As part of the seder, we read a slightly different version of the story Ima posted.

Honi came across an elderly man planting a carob tree with his grandson. Honi laughed at the man and said, "Silly old man, do you really think you'll live long enough to enjoy the fruit of your labor?" The man replied, "I eat today from my grandfather's tree." Honi then fell into a deep sleep. 70 years later, he awoke to find a huge carob tree and an elderly man tending it. Honi asked, "Are you the same man I saw planting this tree long ago?" The man replied, "No, that was my grandfather."

And now, I'll share two stories about trees.

With our ice storms last year, many trees were lost. One of my friends lost this tree in her back yard. That was the tree she, her husband and their son planted 8 years ago in honor of the baby daughter they lost. She was still born.

Here's a happier story for you.
This is why I love the Honi story so very much. I have lived it.

My grandfather was plant crazy. He planted trees all over the property. I was lucky enough to grow up in the same house where he had lived. So even though he died just before my 7th birthday, I grew up with evidence of him all around me. Time and weather have destroyed all but the one that stands in front of my parents' house. I played under the shade of all of those trees, but especially that one in the front. As a child, I studied its branches from my parents' bedroom window. I remember the times I tried in vain to climb that trunk. It has grown over the years, so now, when I visit, I can see the bright green leaves from the front door. That tree has been there through my father's childhood, mine and now, my children's. I have a deep affection for that tree. Its roots and mine are intertwined.

1 comment:

Phyllis Sommer said...

what a great post. the poem is beautiful and the story about your grandfather even more so. happy tu b'shevat!