How often do we observe something in nature and say, “How like me”? In poetry we call this anthropomorphism—assigning human traits to non-human objects. I tend to believe that we are all cut from the same cloth so when I noticed this tree, and saw how it clung to its summer wardrobe (now dried and brown), though it was the middle of winter, I immediately felt a connection.
The six-foot sapling stood against the wind & cold,
a full crown of leaves, long dead, clattering
like castanets at the end of its spindly arms.
February & still they clung, though all the other trees
along the row had given up their fall attire, relinquishing
their red, orange & yellow fires for Amish grey.
But this one held on, despite the laws of nature
and its own genes’ imperative to slim down in winter
so as not to bear the unwanted weight of snow.
Was it ill? Why did it resist when, by all accounts,
and knowing what is best, it should have let its leaves fall?
But why do I judge this tree at all?
How many times, despite the good advice of friends &
the wise words of family, have I seen this same stubbornness
in me, this same fear of letting go?