Feb 14

One Tree Island

Alone you stand on your tiny island of weathered gray rock
Surrounded by immense calm water
A mirror provided for the sky to admire its reflection in
A mirror seldom disrupted, only by the stroke of my paddle and my cedar strip canoe
Just passing through silently
As I observe your stillness.
How sad it must be to stand there, windblown pine tree
Oblivious to how your island separates you from the bustling outside world
Yet there is beauty to your loneliness
Beauty in your thick branches that are bent over from the unforgiving wind 
Yet that still reach out to the stars, and out to me.

We visit in our flotilla of canoes with shouts of excitement
Eager to see the distinctive silhouette of One Tree Island painted into the sky.
But it’s strange to think that you remain here all along
Through the silent winter that reaches its icy arms over the lake
And freezes everything like wax figures in its grasp.
The heavens crack open and rain cascades down in sheets
Thunder threatens your frail silhouette from afar
Yet you remain standing tall in resistance to the wind like a mighty soldier
Guarding your precious island.
After the menacing thunderhead clouds disappear without a trace 
Over the mountains of granite and pine 
Where this blue pearl of water is protected, nestled in the foothills 
Maybe then I will sit in the comfortable chair of your branches and get lost in the pages of a book.
When you bask in the last cherished rays of golden sunlight
I’ll lie on the ground in the blanket of soft pine needles that have surrendered to the wind
As I watch the sun fade away and the galaxy come out from hiding
Rotating with its millions of minuscule stars
Each stranded on their own island.

Your roots extend deep down
Reaching desperately to grab ahold of only a little soil
And somehow find a way to survive on an island of stone. 
It seemed as though you would perish in this inhospitable place
Yet here you are when I return, and I know you’ll be here year after year. 
If I peer through the cracks in the ground down to your roots
Maybe I can discover the secret 
The secret that transformed a seed carried by the wind into a pine that is so delicate and frail
Yet towering strong above me at the same time.
One day, other trees will sprout
Surrounding you
Shrouding your view of the open water
Creating a ceiling with their endless canopy of branches
But for now, you are all alone in the great, untraversed wilderness
Alone until I return
Alone on your island.