Lessons from the Willow by Teri H Hoover
Cut by the hands of my brother; the gift of a willow branch wrapped in a water logged burlap bag.
Traveling down I-90 West from Buffalo to Pittsburgh, winding through West Virginia- all the way to here.
"Let it sit...", soaking in a 5 gallon plastic bucket filled with water, "...till the thing grows roots."
I planted the thing in a hole full of mud, on the side of the yard, close to the street.
Five years later, it was taller than the house.
Five years later, the house became too small.
Moving away, but not too far.
Another cutting set to soak, in a wrapping of burlap.
Again, waiting for the roots; a slip of a willow into the ground.
For the longest time, it hid between the boxwood bushes
and trembled. I promised my husband I would keep it from taking over the yard.
Once it could see where it was going, it claimed the bluffs among the clouds for a playground.
a vessel of benevolence and high spirits.
Hovering over the new deck, watching as we prepared the wood for stain;
cleaning off the leaves, pounding in nail heads. As we finish the last coat
leaves fall in a flourish. We look up and see the willow shaking with laughter; her idea of a joke.
A loose knotted conundrum of high spirited energy
and easy going watchfulness. Faithful yet fitfull, in her flailing.
Wild limbs tell of an oncoming storm.
But on quiet days, gracefulness and equanimity return. She stands quiet as stone.
And we hardly notice willow shadows that brush against our skin.We drink Corona with limes,
while the willow drops leaves like prayers, into our evening meal.
More than twenty years has filled my friend the willow.
And I could not ask for more. She embraces this home and reaches out beyond. Swaying like a song and
waving to everyone who passes by. Not many will notice, but she does not mind
I crawl towards understanding all she has to share. I wait beneath the blessing of the willow.
As she waits for me to hear. Softly swaying in every season with bouts of intractable wildness.
Slowly reaching toward the sun, light falls through her branches.
This weeks words from the Sunday Whirl:
bluffs, willow, corona, brush, trembled, mud, crawl, vessels, nail, stain, shadows, stones
Notes: I deeply admire the willow...
Additional notes: I was asked if this piece is autobiographical. It is indeed. My love of the willow began as a child. I remember moving into a new home in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY. At the age of five we moved to our new home. I can remember how unsettled I was by the bare expanse of the new subdivision. Thankfully, the neighbor behind us planted a row of twelve, quick growing willows. From the window of my second story bedroom I watched these willows cavort with the sunset... and swore I would have a willow in my yard when I grew up. And I do. A large wonderful willow blessing.
Here is a link to another piece I wrote about watching the willows from my bedroom window.Solace is a Place
or click down for the full piece below-
Solace is a Place
March 13, 2012- Solace is a Place by Teri H Hoover
Process Notes first-After a month of reading Margo's prompts about place-I have written what I think is a piece about place.
Margo Roby Prompts~Wordgathering-I loved this prompt and hope someday to complete it -Lying in Hammock but for now I have this.
Solace is a Place
I pass by the clothes line loaded with laundry-
sagging in the middle.
I recall laying on crisp, clean, sheets
a silent solace
summer sweetness, a hidden gift in every fold.
I was in bed as the sun nestled itself into the tangle of willow tree branches, beyond the edge of our half acre yard. Gracefully the willows stood, the only reminder that something could grow taller than a two story house. They stood above the garden where my father grew his corn and tomatoes. Some nights I saw him there, a rounded back silhouette, pulling weeds. The stunted maples, poplars, and pin oaks would take another 20 years, before it would be realized they were planted too close, to each other, and the house. No one imagined how these small things would grow. But before the poplar tree shaded my bedroom window, I watched, as the sun tucked itself into the blanket of willow branches. Lighting up millions of green leaves, that became wavelike in the winds that blew off Lake Erie, 30 miles away. Comforted by all those roots, reaching deep into rich, moist, soil of Western New York.