Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Early Dogwood

Take my hand, friend, follow me.
I've found Spring hiding
just past a little pond in the park.

Go ahead, park the car
and walk with me.
Past the swingset and picnic tables,
head toward the sound
of Spring Peepers and Chorus frogs.
Keep walking toward their song
until you find a thin trail through the woods.
It was made
by the hooves of a herd of deer
through the winter
and it's just barely one person wide.
This is where I go
to run.

If you turn left
and head toward the bend in the road,
you'll find an old gnarled dogwood
who thinks it's already Spring.
He's budded weeks ago
and his leaves are already full grown
while all the other trees are bare.

The white flowers,
yawning out from his old scraggled fingers,
spreading as wide as my open hand
brush my ear
as I run by.
And I laugh to myself
at the Dogwood that's flowered too soon.

But today, stop here with me
under the old tree's new leaves
and think forward to Spring.

The dogwood might be early
but because he is,
it's only Spring right here.
Everywhere else,
the world is slowly crawling
out of Winter coats and skin.
But here,
under his old wrinkled skin,
under his thousand knobbled thumbs,
right here, right now,
under the old Dogwood tree,
it's already Spring.
And I can breathe.

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