THE BIRCH TREES
I’ll always remember the birches for as long as I live.
It’s the silver bark of the birch, the lenticels,
and the height they grow to whilst remaining slim . . .
but they always remind me of home.
James Roy Blair
“My tree attraction wasn’t for just any tree. I noticed this one’s ashen white limbs contrasted with its dark-trunked tree mates in stately oak, maple and elm. I had grown to know a particular birch tree in my early years, developing a kinship with its youth, planted on the same plot as I. My birch and I seemed to shadow one another as we made our way to new places. Its delicate arms played in uncomplicated innocence, inviting me to circle around it. I am reminded of Robert Frost’s reflections of innocence, carefree spirits and evolving years. I like to think some boy’s been swinging them . . ./ And they seem not to break;/ though once they are bowed,/ So low for long, they never right themselves: /You may see their trunks arching in the woods,/ Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,/ Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair . . .
Birches struggle to survive, their shallow roots testing the soil, tender leaves seemingly suspended in stillness but growing and maturing . . .”