Pointing Toward Infinity

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photo by Joel DeWaard

It’s said they planted trees by graves
to soak up spirits of the dead
through roots into the growing wood.
The favorite in the burial yards
I knew was common juniper.
One could do worse than pass into
such a species. I like to think
that when I’m gone the chemicals
and yes the spirit that was me
might be searched out by subtle roots
and raised with sap through capillaries
into an upright, fragrant trunk,
and aromatic twigs and bark,
through needles bright as hoarfrost to
the sunlight for a century
or more, in wood repelling rot
and standing tall with monuments
and statues there on the far hill,
erect as truth, a testimony,
in ground that’s dignified by loss,
around a melancholy tree
that’s pointing toward infinity.
~Robert Morgan “Living Tree”

Our druthers would be to feed the lone fir on the hill, standing tall over the surroundings, home to eagles and hawks, shade for the pasture critters.  But laws such as they are, we will be buried not on the farm under our favorite tree, but nearby, in a small green country cemetery, surrounded by trees, with plenty of shady spots and benches to sit upon with a view of farms and mountains and cows.  The gravestones carry names of neighbors and pioneers, those who we knew while in flesh, and many who are strangers but we’ll someday share the same sod, the same shade, the same sunny and rainy days.  Most of all, we’ll share eternity, pointing those branches into infinity.

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