I did not feel well yesterday, and when a teacher does not feel well, that’s not good. I came home and went to bed. I took two Motrin, crawled under the covers, and fell fast asleep. I could have slept much longer had it not been for the stump grinder coming to finish off the tree. We lost that tree this past June, a week after the arborists came for that tree, B’s dad passed away. He was a sturdy as a tree and he’s been on my mind ever since. The stump grinder coming to finish it off was just another step in the circle of life.
I have been thinking about that tree and all of the trees we’ve lost to Emerald Ash Borer. But, I’ve had more on my mind that just trees, I’ve been thinking of the poem, “Trees,” and its poet – Joyce Kilmer. Sgt. Kilmer was killed in the Second Battle of the Marne on July 30, 1918 and is buried at Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in northern France. His cross is one of over 6000 American soldiers buried in the cemetery and one of the more than 35,000 American soldiers and marines buried or lost from World War I and remembered in American Military Cemeteries in France and Belgium. America lost more than 100,000 soldiers in World War I, but our sacrifice pales in comparison to numbers of young men and women from across the Europe lost in the trenches and battles between September 1914 and November 1918. Over 5 million soldiers were lost in World War I – a staggering number. Sgt. Kilmer was just one of those who gave their lives so that others might live.
I do not think there’s anything lovelier than a tree. It is that time of the year, the trees are turning and some are quite spectacular.
I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918)
Over the course of the next month, we’ll be raking leaves and preparing for another step in the seasons of life – winter. I’ll be thinking of trees in a different way, but I don’t think there is anything lovelier than a tree.
It’s the second day of October and I feel a little better. Half of my science students are building a chair and the other half are beginning their science fair research today. Some things are unavoidable. Learning and Teaching. It’s going to be a great day but I’ll keep the tree in the back of my mind, and my father-in-law, too. Some things are inevitable, that’s why I work to make the days count. Every day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one step forward, sometimes backwards or sideways, but always moving.
What’s on your mind today?