A Tree to Talk With

Kathleen Norris,  The Cloister Walk, 1997

“Nearly every morning I walk past a young tree — some sort of locust — that signifies survival against all odds. Most likely it was stripped bare in its earliest years, when, every summer, a farmer mowed the roadside ditch for hay.

But it lived on, a leaf or two surviving each year, until the farmer noticed it and decided to mow around it. It’s now nearly seven feet tall, the only tree for hundreds of feet around.

Standing alone at the very bottom of the shallow ditch, this clever tree catches what moisture it can. It feels natural for me to converse with it, in any season, in the light just before dawn.

I wonder if children don’t begin to reject both poetry and religion for similar reasons, because the way both are taught takes the life out of them.”

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