I steel myself. Shrunken peels wobble in the breeze. A gust, a fall, and all is clean.
"You are a strong one," he said.
Am I a stone in the forest, my rough crags filled with lichen, slumping, immovable? Does the sedentary rock of the soul, with its layers and layers of dirt and bone, lay compressed: impermeable, alone?
In the forest, a tree leans in the arms of its companion and moans deeply. They sway in the wind together. Is this sorrow? Or desire?
Sometimes, I want to be a tree: first a sapling, shooting down playful roots which dance their deep, entangled song. Then, branches bud, and leaves spread. I embrace the sun and wind, the rain, the moon, and evening stars. On cool, silver nights, the toads sing baritone to the gentle rustle of my drowsy limbs and leaves.
Near my home, across a stream and up a hill, well beyond the footworn path, a flat boulder sits beneath an aging tree. I could lay there all day long. And yet the counsel of the forest is not toward immobility. The tree does not embrace the Sun just out of love. The warmth, the breeze, the spring melodies of birds and waterways, the scurried footfalls of tiny friends: these are the sounds of progress and the causes of life. The sun is needed for life. The streams are needed for life. The storms are needed for life. The tree is needed for life. Even the stone is needed for life.
And the poet? He too is needed for life. So standing up at last, he strides back from the forest to the human world, where he will try to cling to solid ground, stand tall, reach out, make shade, and embrace the sky.