Joyce Kilmer began his now famous poem:

I think that I shall never see…a poem as lovely as a tree

and the older I grow…the more I walk among them…

the more with Mr. Kilmer I agree


His beautifully simple poem…written in 1913…as a tribute to the tree…is what brought us to the Joyce Kilmer forest…in Robbinsville…NC.


After a beautiful drive in the country…at the entrance we arrived

and we realized we were here 30 years ago..with our children and Deborahs’s dad while he was still alive.


As the memories washed over us…memories with one another we exchanged…we thought how our life is so different 30 years later…but this forest hasn’t changed.


In truth…the trees have grown a little older…some have fallen…and their wrinkles aren’t as small…but when we stopped to think about it…that has happened to us all.


It’s a virgin forest (meaning it’s never been logged)…and is truly a sight to behold…There are 100 species of trees…some standing 100 feet tall…many over 400 years old.


As we began to walk among these giants…we didn’t travel very far…before once again realizing how huge are the trees that surround us…and how minuscule we are.


We’d find one of these behemoths…then at it’s base the two of us would stop…We’d turn our eyes to the heavens…but we could not see the top.


We noticed each tree is like a high rise apartment…some standing alone…others interweaved…with a host of animals, insects and plants living among their bark, their branches…their leaves.


Walking in the midst of these ancient giants…we felt blessed…we felt a joy within us release…..our hearts seemed to beat a little slower and our inner souls found peace.


His poem is not a very long poem…it ends as it began…quite lyrically…stating: poems are made by fools like me…but only God can make a tree


We added new memories to our old ones…

in a virgin forest we once visited 30 years before……

and as I try to put our feelings into a poem…

Mr. Kilmer I couldn’t agree with you more.

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We couldn’t help but notice her…on the sand…washed up by the sea…stretched out in the sun…what remained of a driftwood tree.


I wondered how she found her way here…naked on the shore of our state park…Did the incessant waves on her journey strip away her bark?


I had so many questions for this lonely driftwood tree…How long have you been drifting?…Did you travel across the sea?


What started you on your journey?  How’d you end up on this sand?

Are you from a nearby island…or from a far off distant land?


Was it frightening on the ocean…once that enormous wave you caught?

Have you enjoyed the freedom….of not being rooted to one spot?


What’s it like to take a trip with destinations undefined?

How long have you been drifting?

Do you miss the trees you left behind?


Have you met other trees along the way?  Were you able to make friends?

Are you heading out tomorrow or is this where your journey ends?


I asked her all these questions…but of course she did not answer me…

just another illustration of the mysteries of the sea.


One question was answered however…for on another day as we walked along the beach at dawn…when we reached the spot where we first saw her…the driftwood tree was gone.



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“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper, That we may record our emptiness.” Kahlil Gabran 





Let me introduce myself…I have no name…at least not formally…

I have stood on my property for over 50 years…you see…I am a tree.


I’ve been home to many insects and birds…and neath my boughs I’ve seen many people come and go…from this very spot I’ve shaded a house and multiple families…I’ve watched scores of children grow.


But when the last family moved out of the house I shaded…suddenly…one day big machines and their workers moved in, tore it down…and hauled it all away.


A ‘For Sale’ sign went up in my yard and my excitement was unfading…when my property sold knowing I’d soon discover…the next house I’d be shading. 


One day more machines and their workers came into my yard…knowing my fortune was about to be remade…I stood up as tall and as proud as I could….happy to offer my comfort and my shade.


But the more I watched them in my yard…the more I came to see…They did not come for my comfort or my shade…they came, instead…for me.


When I saw that crane go up and heard their chain saws start…my leaves began to shake…Stop…Stop! I  cried… Please stop! This must be a mistake”.


“You don’t understand!” I shouted “I’ve been standing here for over 50 years,” 

Either they didn’t care or, because the chain saws were so loud…perhaps they didn’t hear.


They started by cutting off my highest limbs…immediately I began to cry…when I realized…never again…was I going to touch the sky.


Again I screamed for them to stop…again they ignored my plea….

Now I was crying for all the creatures who will no longer make their home in me.


After an entire day of ripping me apart…all that could be found…were pieces of the tree I once was…strewn upon the ground.


And with my life in pieces I was left to wonder…why….why would they destroy a poem the Earth wrote upon the sky?


And if anyone out there has the answer…there is something else I’d like to know…How could they destroy, in one day, what took me 50 years to grow?

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I was walking in the woods the other day when what did I happen to see...across the path in front of me…a newly fallen tree.


The fact that it was newly fallen was easy to perceive.

The bark was still in tact and Its branches still had leaves


"Are you sad that you have fallen?" I asked the tree…"sad that you will die?"

The tree thought about it for a moment….’No’ came his reply.


‘From the moment we sprout from the ground when we are thin and small...all trees know eventually one day we will fall.’


'It's a trees job to stand tall and strong to provide shelter to the birds before we go…knowing one day we will become part of the Earth so that other trees may grow.'


‘This is the cycle of a tree’s life…this is our path…this is the only way…and all trees understand…the part we’re meant to play.’


How can I be sad I’ve fallen…when deep in my bark I have no doubt...my falling will give so many other trees their opportunity to sprout.'


‘And how can I be sad as upon this ground I lie…when, for a little while in my life, I was blessed to touch the sky.'



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Yesterday before the sun awoke as odd as this may be

I paused while I was walking to have a conversation with a tree.


Now you might think it crazy conversing with a tree

but, in my defense, it was the tree who first called out to me.


“I’ve seen you walk by for many years.” (This tree conversing was a she!)

I think it’s time we get to know each other…come…sit…and talk to me.”


Before you think my craziness has gotten too pervasive

Let me tell you, right up front,…a tree can be persuasive.


We had a wonderful conversation and though we didn’t always agree

I have to say I was impressed with the wisdom of the tree.


I asked her where her wisdom came from and as she swayed in the early morning breeze.

She said not only do her roots run deep but they connect with all the other trees.


She said, “I may look like I am one tree standing on my own

but being linked to all the other trees means I never stand alone.


"Which means,” she said, “you’re not talking exclusively to me.

Since I am connected to all the others…I am more than just one tree.”


And though she didn’t come right out and say it

I’m sure the message was meant for me.

Her subtle way of saying humans should be a little more like trees.


As the first rays of the morning light began to shine on me

I smiled, told her I had to go…then turned and thanked the tree.


As I walked away I thought to myself…I’m not crazy but how lucky must I be

to think that I just sat down and had a conversation with a tree…


So I turned back to the tree…I smiled, waved, and to prove my sanity’s intact…

That old tree not only waved to me…but I’m pretty sure she smiled back.

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When the world is moving too fast and it’s hard for me to see

I find some peace and comfort as I sit under a tree.


In the coolness of the shade on the ground as low as I can go…

I give thanks to whoever planted this tree so many years ago.


As I lay upon the ground and watch leaves waving in the breeze 

I begin to wonder to myself how important are the trees.


Without us they’re still beautiful….thet’ll still grow up tall and thrive

but without them we, as humans, would be unable to survive.


Under a tree we ponder the value of our life…our meaning and our worth

Under a tree, if we listen, we can hear the heartbeat of the Earth.


Under a tree is where some poets have been inspired to do their rhyming.

It’s where as children looking up we began to think of climbing.


Under a tree is where couples…looking through the leaves to the stars above

have held hands for the first time…it’s where they fell in love.


As I see the branches of the tree…lifting up…and watch them sway

I wonder if it was under a tree where people first began to pray. 


The more and more you contemplate life sitting under a tree

the more the world begins to slow down and the easier it is to see.







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He often pauses in the forest…

gets down on his knees as if he’s praying

to gossip with the wind


and listen to what the trees are saying.

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She loved when he read her fairy tales…she’d sit upon his knees

and be amazed how so many fairy tales took place among the trees.


Fairy tales…alive with woes and heartaches…

with battles, and wishes granted,

with damsels in distress…

where every forest seemed enchanted.


And when they walked into the woods…she always felt it there

perhaps inspired by the fairy tales…something magic in the air.


She’d point them out when she spotted them

“Dad! Look another tree…

just like the ones in the fairy tales you always read to me”.


“Look how tall they are”, she smiled…”how they reach up to the sky

I wonder how many adventures they’ve seen…with their fairy tale eyes”.


For her birthday that year…she was given the best gift she would ever see

when she delicately unwrapped…a tray of tiny trees.


“It’s to start your own enchanted forest”, Dad said as he got down on one knee,

"where you can make up your very own stories among your very own fairy tale trees”.


Later…In her back yard as she looked down at the tray of trees just planted

“Dad”, she asked, "how long do you think before this forest becomes enchanted”?


Dad put his arm around his daughter and took her hand in his….

“Just like you on the day you were born”, he smiled,


“your forest…already is”.

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In the comfort of my boat…as on the water I did float

under a cloud filled sapphire sky

From my spot upon the river wide…up ahead along the riverside

one particular tree captured my eye.


I have always been enthralled…how the trees grow straight and tall

How together they create such a beautiful sight

but something was awry…and the tree that caught my eye

was not straight…but leaning to the right.


Yet rooted to the land…this tree continued to look grand

even leaning as it did it still stood tall

For I am must now report…two trees were offering support

using their branches they would not let him fall.


The first tree did astound…it was lying on the ground

and caught the falling tree to help it stop

The second tree still standing with it’s open arms expanding

caught the falling tree nearer to its top.


And I had to smile at the sight…how nature does things right

how she uses all she has to save a tree

And the way, like birds of a feather, trees will work together

is a wonderful and beautiful sight to see.


And I thought we can learn a lot…all that nature knows and taught

for as to life…she seems to hold the keys

For wouldn’t it be grand….if one day we came to understand


How trees stand taller when they stand with other trees

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