Gardener at Heart - Book One

Field Guide (Ponderosa Pine)

I took my key, I stood outside,

I looked up at the sky;

I could not count the needles, they

were growing way too high.

I scrutinized the bark instead—

I looked it in the eye.

I broke some puzzle pieces off

that giant scratchy chest,

And right there underneath I found

the color of the west—

The very stuff the robin surely

uses on its vest.

The bark was split by canyons,

every one of them was grand;

Some insects were exploring in

this horizontal land,

And one set out to study my

mysterious giant hand.

I pressed my ear against the bark

where nothing crawled around;

The wind was in the needles, and

I heard a hissing sound;

I heard the big bole flexing from

the tip down to the ground.

I looked straight up the trunk again;

the clouds were going fast,

And for one dizzy moment there

the tree became a mast

And I was riding Earth somewhere—

and then the moment passed.

The wind got stronger, and it must

have snapped a branch-tip free;

I saw it fall, as if the tree

had tossed it down to me;

I picked it up and counted, and

I looked into my key.

I crushed some needles and they smelled

so potent and so clean;

I found the page and learned the name—

the drawing there was keen—

And now they grow all over, where

before it was just green.

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