Elegy to a Tree
Elegy to a Tree, the poem, was written about six months after my husband passed away. It at the time when I had turned to the expressive arts to help me express my soul’s grief.
After enrolling in a drawing class, I was given an assignment to go outside and draw a tree. I knew exactly which tree I wanted to draw – my favorite tree which was right outside my house on the golf course. There were oh so many times when I would sit and look at “my tree” in the sunshine and the lightning storms, taking great comfort in its strength and dignity. When our neighbors built their house next to ours, my biggest concern was that it would block my view of the tree. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
When I took my drawing pad outside to work on this assignment, to my horror and dismay I discovered that “my tree” was missing. It had been taken down and replaced with an ordinary palm tree. So, from a state of grief and loss, I drew the found one of the many pictures I had taken of the tree and used that image to draw from.
Once completed, I was compelled to write “An Elegy to a Tree” as a tribute and eulogy. The poem speaks volumes about what I was experiencing at that time in my life – a loss of any kind created a raw emotion that went down to my very core, my “roots”.
As I have traveled with my work to art shows, the piece created from my drawing and the photograph of the tree seems to call out to passers by. This story art touches the viewers almost instantly. It is spiritual in nature, and I don’t think I had much to do with creating it other than to have it come through my hands and heart onto paper. Elegy to a tree is mean to be shared so that its spirit lives on.
Elegy to a Tree
Welcoming all to a vision of grandeur,
you stood tall and proud with your trunk rooted firmly in the ground
as your limbs reached towards the heavens.
I watched in awe as playful birds rested on your bare branches,
and marveled when your sparse limbs were
illuminated by gleaming sunbeams.
You withstood the force of fierce winds, unrestrained rainstorms
and seemed to revel as lightning danced raggedly around you.
During your time on earth, your spirit was one of
beauty, dignity, grace and, above all, courage.
Then suddenly one day you disappeared!
Thoughtlessly cut down to fulfill
man’s need for youthful perfection, you were
replaced with a rather unremarkable seedling.
Was it was time for your journey to
come to an end so that a new life could begin?
Nonetheless, your loss was jarring.
Know this oh grand tree ~
the indelible image of your
magnificent strength and glory
will always have a home within my soul!
© Laurel D. Rund 2009
Trees play a significant part in my life. On the first year marker of my husband’s death, February 11th, 2010, I planted a beautiful bottle brush tree outside my office window with notes from me and my grandchildren under the roots of the tree. Birds and butterflies land on this tree (now “Marty’s tree”) and it gives me great pleasure every time I look up from my computer and see it.
It is a symbol of hope and regrowth! As it grows, so do I. View all posts by Laurel Rund →on Open to Hope’s website