A great tree fell
the other day
opening up a
new patch of sky
in town
Slowly word spread
People came to see
where the tree
had been standing
so tall and strong
all these years
They came to see the
new patch of sky
and how the rays of sun
slanted down
where the huge trunk
once stood
When I was a boy
on my bike
riding through town alone
or with the other boys
and girls
this great tree
was already quite big
The trunk was thick
it had reached full height
Its limbs were huge
Like strong arms
they stretched out
over the street
Its roots punched up the bricks
as they rippled out
reaching down
for the water that the tree
would need to grow strong
The big tree cast out seeds
that drifted to old-time
downtown yards
Some rooted in place
others were dug and moved
to grow strong
in far off places
on their own

One time the warden came
to look at the great tree
he trimmed a few
of the longer branches
The tree had grown too big
People used some of the wood
to build things
that were needed in town
Others used the wood
to heat their houses
or their shops
or heat rocks for clam bakes
at South Beach
One man carved the wood
into decoys the hunters used
on the great ponds
The tree seemed glad its
wood could be used this way
It continued to thrive
As the tree grew
so did I
Sometimes I’d
park my truck nearby the tree
I’d walk over with my dog
or later with
one of our kids
or later yet
our grandkids
I’d walk over and sit down
next to the big old tree
that felt so strong
As I ran my hands over
its rough bark
I wondered if it could see out
to the harbor
to the other big old trees

that grow in our small town
I wondered if their roots
met up
deep in the ground
as they meandered
in their thirsty search
I wondered how they felt
as their old tree friends
made their own patches of light
as they too in turn gave way
from age
from storms
some big old tree disease
I wondered how these old friends shared
all that they’d seen
and how our town has changed
since they were seeds
As I sat there
I’d introduce my dog
our kids
and grandkids
to the great tree
As we sat there
we could feel the tree
smile that great
quiet smile
We could sense the great dark
and honest tree eyes
that quietly said
so much to us

We’ll miss this great tree
that fell the other day
and opened up that
patch of sky
but the sun that lights
the space in town it
quietly shaded
as it grew all those years
makes me smile as it
warms our hearts
here and now