Trees are stepladders

I want to know
how trees sound
inside the hollow
of my cheeks, and how
their wrinkled, rufous skin
feels like on my my tongue.
I want their roots
branching out of my hair
and their foliage as
foot massaging cream
to keep me going
until I see the rivers
float upstream.

I am a tree-hugger. I don’t protest out in the open about deforestation; not yet at least. I just like hugging trees. I feel at peace being close to them. Pressing my cheeks against the bark on their crumbling breasts. Skidding my fingers along the curvatures of their hips. Sniffing the sun-burnt resin in their souls.

Peacock Tree, Kodaikanal

I have never regretted climbing a tree. Sure I have been a tumbling mound of flesh around her. Considering how excitable I am when surrounded by things I love, I have fallen off trees on several occasions. The funniest one found me crashing down, like a stiff drummer monkey doll, after I mistook a creeping vine for a serpent. The scariest was when I had almost fallen into the mouth of a waterfall after slipping on a moss-covered branch.

I can’t help it though. Sometimes I see one and I just have to climb it. I need to make a connection. Or engage in a conversation to find out why our paths might have crossed.

Monkey Tree, Masinagudi

I want to inch closer to put my one of arms around them. They will whistle, creak and fiddle with dying woodwind instruments. And I will speak to them, in plain English, about the love I keep inside my back-pockets.

Trees are stepladders to somewhere always nice. The weather might not be different when I am up there. But it always changes when I climb back down.

The trees featured were photographed across Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Peacock Tree is a tourist attraction at the pine forest near Berijam Lake. The one with the monkey tattoo is a beautiful coincidence found near the Bison Valley in Masinagudi.

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51 comments

  1. I’m glad you’re so touched by the trees. This poem would have been much different if you were touched by bees. I’m grateful that isn’t the case. You share a ton of amazement. Always inspiring.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. There is a nice little essay on you tuvbe that tells about the artists and how they always put a tree in anything the draw or paint. If someone sayw Paint a cat. The people from this place paint a tree and a cat. If they are to paint a cloud. There is a tree under it. A portrait? It is the person and a tree. What you wrote and photographed brought the song Thousand Year Dream and the pictures to mind right away. Why? Because India. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

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