Obstructing the view, a pepper tree must be cleared away.
Sitting on the porch, I watch the branch removal operation as
limb by limb they fall down. Where will the birds go?
In the morning the fog lifts and light touches the tiny green leaves.
Soon red berries should bunch and hang: What will happen now?
Loss resonates up from the tree to the branches and through leaves lying on the ground,
from the berries that won’t burst out, from
the raw cut edges left starkly open until they heal.
And how will the birds react now that their touchstone home is gone?
Do they fly around the empty space and land on any skeletal branch?
Or do they widen their wings and push on seeking another location?
The next morning, I hear them sing in the absence of branches.
Soon they gingerly crisscross around the newly opened space; tentatively, as if
flying through a transparent window. Is it an illusion of open that’s actually closed?
Gaining courage, they dive through cleared air with confidence and speed.
First one goes through, and then many more follow. Several black birds
speed and dive through the newly discovered thoroughfare.
But the red cardinal who once sat on the fanning branches–
riding up and down as the breeze caught, lifted and swayed while
hidden under tenuous leaves, and blended in between clusters of
matching seeds–she no longer sits and peers back at me.
The rest-stop tree becomes a sky road cleared for takeoff.
Change and its subsequent decisions are the hardest of all.
Most birds quickly adapt but some move far away. Some move
to a neighboring tree and wait. Will the branches return?
All are perplexed. Who changed this place in my world?
Was it man or nature? Or, was it God? But the tree doesn’t know.
The birds don’t know. The people think they know.
About this poem: Change is a powerful force in this world. It’s often difficult to come to terms with the emotional chaos caused by the absence of the familiar and arrive to a place where acceptance allows inevitable decisions about how to change.
©2016 Cynthia Pittmann. All rights reserved.