Summer is slowly, inevitably, falling to winter. This week, I invite you to poetically reflect with me on a tender moment from two springs ago.
Glad for the Day
smartphones, computer graphics, virtual reality…
And still a boy bursts out of doors and heads to the nearest tree.
He swings from the branches just for pure joy;
fleshy fingers of bone and sinew grapple round the maple’s limb,
the tree skin smooth with rough-edged joints,
the boy skin soft but hardening.
With wonder and fervor, growing muscles bending arms,
he pulls himself up off the ground,
sneakered feet walk vertically
and, with a move much tried and failed in his tender years,
he rolls up the tree and rights himself on one knee,
the master slayer of gravity.
Making room for the arboreal arms, he bends his head
and curves his body, standing on one branch to gain another,
as upward with his own strength he pulls and reaches new perspective.
“That’s a nice spot,” I, his proud aunt, say, smiling as wide as he.
He sits in the crook of the maple’s arm, free and easy in his skin,
glad for his life and for the day, as deep a communion as a boy can pray.
Curiosity soon reaches in pocket,
balancing carefully, and pulls out a tool,
a small blade knife of no practical purpose
except to dissect, to explore, to whittle
for the sake of whittling, shaving with metal at nature’s wood,
the curls and slivers of mysterious material, fragrant
with powers beyond boy or man.
Now the sharp edge pierces the cover of bark
so that he may reveal the light within;
he holds a twig gently between finger and thumb
and slices it clear to make the sap run.
“My knife is all sappy,”
he says to me, who, crippled, cannot climb trees,
who’s stuck in a machine,
“And the sap is dripping on my leg!”
I reflect his amazement like the moon does the sun,
like a pool of water gazes up to the tremulous leaves.
What he receives, he shares, with the wisdom of a child,
the compassion of a man, the man he is becoming —
and with profoundly simple joy. The earth is kind
to a boy of open mind and open heart, who knows,
through natural intelligence,
that mankind-made is good and Creation-born is better,
rooted at the heart, connected to people and trees, to earth and sky.
© 2016 Christina Chase
Photo courtesy of Aaron Burden via Unsplash
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.