A Love Note Passed Between Two Trees

Bigleaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum, near Ravenna Park, Seattle.

Bigleaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum, near Ravenna Park, Seattle. Credit: Walter Siegmund, CC BY-SA 3.0

A deep breath.

Someone is baking.

They’ve opened their window

to let the caramelly, yes,

—but slightly burnt—

scent be carried on the

rain-washed wind.

The same wind that only washed

the western half of the big pine’s bark,

the half infringed by the Bigleaf Maple

whose big leaves are only buds,

promises of chlorophylled summer days,

when the upstart deciduous will steal the sun

from the ancient gymnosperm,

who leans East,

its biceps thick and brawny,

curving loops of bark and lignin,

its ever-present needles stocked with tannins,

dry and bitter,

opening to puffy, prickly umbrellas

against the morning’s storm,

which blew in from the West

and dropped the maple’s short-lived flowers,

lanky, wispy things,

pale yellow-green,

all stem and stamen,

anthers swollen and spent,

having already put forth its pollen,

the spring sex,

advertising its desires to the world,

desires to live, and live again,

and recombine, and become new.

And while the wind may only plaster

this tree’s blooms to the windshield

of the gray Honda parked beneath it,

or spread a carpet of spent maple sex

beneath my feet,

this tree has made its desires known,

which no passing chickadee or

passenger plane can deny.

Certainly, the encroached-upon pine

cannot deny it,

cannot deny the wispy maple-flowers

plastered to its flanks,

a love note

passed between two trees

whose evolutions diverged long before them,

and while this arboreal-love-that-cannot-be

will never bear fruit,

the impatient crows cannot deny it

and so I will be its witness,

and so I will be its memory.

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