A hundred thirty years ago
great grandparents settled here
Planted themselves
and then planted trees
Apple trees, pear trees
Osage orange and ash trees
The Osage Orange were windbreakers
cause the prairie sure had wind!
They made great fence rows
and nearly permanent fence posts
Some still line the boundaries

The fruit trees were very precious
cause sugar sure was high
so sweetness was very special
jams and jellies tasted mighty good
all through the long, cold, and snowy winters

Ash is a good hard wood
for making strong shovels and handles
and hand work was the way to do
The ash trees grew so tall
they seemed to touch the clouds
Strong winds served to do the pruning
broken branches made good fires
for cooking and for heating water
and heating the big old farmhouse

Over a century old now
my arms won’t reach around one
limbs way up in the trees
are big around as trees as well!
But time goes by
and nature has its way
to raise things up
and bring things down
We have the Green Ash Borer

The trees will die.

All of them.

I’ll have enough firewood
for a decade or more I’d guess
but it’s a sad sad time
to see them starve
from all their wounds
Fewer and fewer leaves
until the last leaf falls
and the tree stands sullen, barren

No leaves to greet me in the dawn
no shade for noonday sun
or evenings on the porch swing
no watching the branches lean
as strong winds shake the house
No place to hide the Robin’s nest
just lifeless wood
awaiting the saw, the axe
the fire I sit beside

As winters pass
I’ll stoke the fire
read my books and ponder
Bout how this is earth
with all its problems
and how there is a heaven

This summer I’ll hug each tree
give them my small blessing
thanking the Creator
for the century the ash trees gave us
and thanking for diversity
for oaks and maples and Hawthorns and others

Perhaps I’ll slice some boards from ash tree logs
and build some things to remember
Selah, Lin 4/12