It used to be that I would walk the halls
and think about the great work done
here among and on behalf of the next generation.
Today, however, the small oak tree outside
my office window came down. It had died,
probably a slow, painful death, strangled
from water, leaves curling, turning brown
until she had to be cut down to preclude falling,
knocking out some unsuspecting teenager.
Would that be so bad? Could I choose the teenager
who might be sitting beneath that beloved tree
as it careened to the asphalt in the center of the quad
in the center of the school that is the center of the community
that is just off-center from the land of silicon?
I could name one or two whose head, swollen
with self-importance, would survive the blow
but maybe be knocked sensible in the process.
That, of course, would not be becoming
of me, a person in my position, to wish for–
a lover of children and especially teenagers
even when they say hurtful things, disrespect
their parents, crash their car in a mad dash
for the sandwich shop at noon. No, I dare not
wish the child to be near that oak, that once
beautiful tree, when it dips its last time in the wind.
There is something quite sad about the loss of a tree,
or a dog, or a friend, or even the thought of one.
It makes me want to be kind to the trees,
but not necessarily you.