The Guardian

She stands in the yard,

the centre of her universe,

an observer of her time and place.

Barren arms reach into the air,

fingers scratching at the sky,

grasping at the breeze.

She stands alone.

 

Her skin is deep ebon,

in stark contrast to the piles

of snow at her feet.

Once, it was smooth

but now bears the deep

crenellations and scars

of her many years.

The pliancy and suppleness of youth

have been replaced with the

inflexibility and roughness of maturity.

 

Her age has brought many visions,

scenes of an over-full life

flooding her existence.

She has seen the passing

of innumerable families

in her neighbourhood;

The birth of children

who have played in her yard,

enjoying the welcome

of her open arms.

Children who develop

and change their surroundings,

having children of their own,

growing old and passing on.

Yet, she outlives them all.

 

She will live forever.

For her, the years are minutes,

decades but hours.

Who knew, those many years ago,

when that small grey squirrel

prepared his forage for winter,

that such beauty would surface

from the cold, damp earth

pressing down upon her infant self;

to shade her yard in summer;

to return fertility in the Fall with humus

from her dead and dying leaves.

She is the immortal,

timeless and carefree.

(One of the autumn immortals from Toronto’s High Park.)

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