What The Trees Do When We’re Not Looking (with Poem)

We love things that defy the usual, find ways around constraints, are committed to being wholeheartedly themselves.

On a walkabout to Central Park recently we found a startling, deeply heartening example: roots of the old trees planted along Fifth Avenue quietly busting through the cobbled walkway.

No one we passed seemed to notice the massive gnarl of roots that caused the sidewalk to undulate.


Sally Schneider

When we came home a perfect poem jumped into our hands:

        Can you Imagine?

For example, what the trees do
not only in lightning storms
or the watery dark of a summer’s night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now – whenever
we’re not looking. Surely you can’t imagine
they don’t dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade – surely you can’t imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can’t imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

—Mary Oliver


Sally Schneider

…But our friend Cara De Silva really expressed what was in our heart:

I think about those Fifth Avenue trees every day of my life. And I so deeply identify with them…

…But not in terms of patience or contentment, as with the wonderful Mary Oliver…

Sally Schneider

…Rather in terms of determination as they push through the pavement and crack the concrete with their resolve to conquer their circumstances, break through the sidewalk, and reach the sky…

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

4 Responses to What The Trees Do When We’re Not Looking (with Poem)

  1. Cydney 01.29.2018 at 9:07am #

    Wonderful. Thank you for your point of view and for pointing to Mary Oliver.

  2. Cardie Molina 01.29.2018 at 9:48am #

    What a beautiful poem written on a plane of human and equanimity with nature.

  3. Susan Emmet Reid 01.29.2018 at 11:26am #

    Yes, the trees simply doing what needs to be done.

  4. Kimithy 01.31.2018 at 9:49pm #

    Just wonderful. Thanks so much for this.

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