I love trees. I admit, I hug trees—literally. I always have. We moved a lot when I was growing up, but I remember one house we lived in had a great climbing tree in the front yard. I spent hours in that tree; I would read on its branches, think, and conjure up stories I hoped to one day write.
Even my pen name, Eila Oakes, is a product of my love for trees… especially oak trees. One of the meanings of Eila istree, or oak tree. Oakes, well, I don’t need to explain that.
The only trees I don’t like are palm trees. But that’s just because they are invasive to the natural landscape where I live. Palm trees in their native environment are lovely. It bothers me when I’m hiking, surrounded by beautiful, old, knobby oaks… then all of a sudden, there is a massive palm tree growing in the middle of it all. Go home, palm tree. You’re drunk.
Anyway, this is supposed to be be about oak trees because I’m on the letter O. I guess I can continue my gripes about palm trees when I write for the letter P, but I probably won’t.
I live in southern California, and I’m sure most people know that the state is in the middle of a drought. The drought, along with a deadly pest from Guatemala, called the Gold-Spotted Borer, has been taking out many of our beautiful, native oaks. This makes me sad. As it is, I don’t want to live in California. Being here would be unbearable to me without the option to get away and be surrounded by the trees I love so much.
I find comfort in the shade of your arms
Like a child in a mother’s embrace.
And it was from childhood, you knew me.
Laughed with me,
Guided me as I wandered, discovered
The gifts you left me on the forest floor.
Gifts as precious as gems in my young mind.
I cried for you when my sister’s knife cut.
She carved her name and left you deeply scarred.
I fumed with anger when I saw you bleed,
And I knew
It caused pain.
Years later, the evidence of her crime
Remained, though faded and stretched with your growth.
In your own way, you remember my tears.
Now I have acquired scars of my own.
I, too, have bled from wounds that cut deeply.
You notice those scars and you cry for me,
As I did
Cry for you.
Just like you, the scars have faded with time.
I grow, and they become harder to see,
We share this- a bond that can’t be broken.
I am no longer the child you knew.
Yet, I return and know I am welcome.
Your arms reach wide, offering your shelter.
I take it,
Feeling as though I have stepped back in time,
I touch you- our souls again connecting.
Quietly, we rejoice in our union.
Your exterior beautiful with age,
Speaks of wisdom and long ago stories.
If only I could reach deep to your soul!
I would know
I might see the little girl that was me
Before I became the woman I am.
A life that changed before your watchful eyes.