A Miniature Barren Banzai Tree

In these weeks, as winter takes its last stand, two earthen moments have stuck with me.

First, the blue sky had drawn us out into a deceptively cold morning. We expected to enjoy a coatless walk.  Instead we shivered along while our breath billowed into the brisk air. Still, with determined hope, our little family bundled and made our way past houses and fields and onto the gravel paths of our countryside. By then, we each had collected our own walking sticks, limbs that had been blown to the ground from some winter storm. Along the path there were random puddles only inches deep. It was only when I went to stir up one of those puddle that I discovered the cold.  Each one was covered over with a layer of clear thin ice.

My walking stick and I promoted spring that morning by breaking up the ice and helping it melt into the warmer water below. I had reached the final puddle and was about to break its sheet into a hundred pieces when I saw below a smallish worm wiggling its way around the floor. How did this creature survive encased in ice? It was striving back and forth seeking some warm soil. We rescued that worm today.

Second, as the season’s final snow melted into the Bluegrass, I packed together a snowball. When I held it in my hand, I noticed a tiny root placed atop the sphere as if it were planted there, a miniature barren banzai tree.  While I contemplated what lay in my hand, the simple ball of snow seemed to transform into a mystical image. It inspired this piece of verse:

Randomly pressed into this snowball, a root presses up to the sky
Glimmering in the melting sun I hold a tiny barren banzai tree
Resting atop some crystal soil and waiting for its spring
What will bloom here? A plant of purple jewels?
Perhaps some shining stars will flower sheltered by golden leaves.
Yet my intuition flattens falsities and the promises of cheap dreams
So, I toss this snow mirage back below onto our earthen ground
And watch it crash into its pieces, a dead root joining the awakening land below.

Back to “Sacred Earth”