#ThursdayTreeLove | When Great Trees Fall, or My Father’s Tree

The Last Time Tree

Yesterday, while I was considering using the tree above for today’s #ThursdayTreeLove, I received a text message from my Raven, asking if I were in my office. I had a moment of excitement thinking she was visiting from California and was on her way to see me. Sadly, that was not the case. However, she had her sister, who lives in the area, deliver a beautiful “forever bouquet” with an elegant note tucked inside that only an English major could write [Biased? Perhaps]. Her note included the last verse of Maya Angelou’s poem below.

When Great Trees Fall
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance, fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of
dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

What made Raven’s gift so timely was that this tree is from my parents’ backyard, and I have always associated this tree with my father–maybe because he was usually sitting quietly in or working in the yard in the vicinity of the tree. This photo was shot six days before his passing, moments before I last saw him living, breathing, and still being Daddy.


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

24 thoughts on “#ThursdayTreeLove | When Great Trees Fall, or My Father’s Tree

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Thank you. My sister and I were just talking about Maya Angelou’s poetry. about how she’s reduced to two poems, “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman.” Her body of work IS phenomenal, and this particular poem speaks to the depth of her insight.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Esha says:

    Hugs on your loss, dear Chandra! Your post is so poignant and it reminded me of my dad who I lost some 3 years ago, although it only feels just like yesterday. The poem by Maya Angelou and the memory and the emotion it stirs makes one sad…but such is life!
    Sending you love and strength!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JoAnna says:

    I am very moved by this post – first by the poem, which I had not read before, connecting great trees with great souls, and then by your memories of your father. My father died a few years ago. We are better, the world is better, for they existed. Sending hugs and peace to you, Chandra.

    Liked by 1 person

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