NPM #13

Today’s poem is my favorite in the entire book of “Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold” by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen.It has both some of my favorite lines and some of my favorite images.  And for some reason, it reminds me of William Stafford’s poem “Ask Me.”  I will provide both the picture and typed up text of “What Do the Trees Know?”

trees know

“What Do the Trees Know?”
What do the trees know?
     To bend when all the wild winds blow.
     Roots are deep and time is slow.
     All we grasp we must let go.
What do the trees know?
     Buds can weather ice and snow.
     Dark gives way to sunlight’s glow.
     Strength and stillness help us grow.


Trees, the giants of the plant world, survive winter in two very different ways.  Coniferous (evergreen) trees have thing, wax-covered needles that tolerate freezing temperatures and remain on the tree all year round.  Deciduous (leafy) trees, on the other hand, sprout large, flat leaves every spring that are perfect for gathering sunlight to produce energy.  Deciduous trees grow like mad while the weather is warm, but in winter they essentially shut down.  They shed their luxuriant leaves, which would freeze anyway and suck much-needed water from the tree.  The tiny buds, which will hold next year’s leaves, develop a tough, scaly coating to protect them all winter.  As the temperatures drop, the living tissue in the tree’s trunk undergoes a process called hardening, in which cells lose water and become more resistant to freezing.  An early cold snap–before a tree has hardened–will damage its branches.  But after hardening, the tree will spend the winter months dry, cold, and protected–waiting for spring to swell those hardy buds.

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