ODE TO A BRUSH PILE

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There.

By the side of the road.

A mound of branches and tree limbs.

Leafless.

Like a giant, overturned bird’s nest.

Which isn’t far-fetched.

Birds like brush piles.

And all sorts of critters do too.

But some people think it’s nothing but trash.

Debris to be removed.

Or burned.

Not the birds.

They like to flit in and out.

Wrens hunt and peck for insects.

Redbirds alight, then take flight.

Lizards take shelter.

Cottontails too.

An entire ecosystem occurs when we pile up the brush.

No need to feel bad if you don’t dispose of it in a week.

Or month.

Or year.

Let it stay.

And decay.

Same goes for a dead tree.

Something to be revered.

Not removed.

At least, not right away.

Unless, of course, it poses danger to those close by.

Though wind and storm can topple a live tree just as easily as a dead one.

Unsightly as it may seem, it’s invaluable.

A source of food to a woodpecker as it rat-a-tat-tats at insects thriving in the decaying wood.

And shelter to birds and bees.

Or home to an owl.

And a nest for its babies.

Miraculous how something dead can give so much life.

Shel Silverstein captured it in The Giving Tree.

Brush piles testify to the existence of new growth.

The assurance that life goes on.

Here’s what we were.

We sprouted, grew, thrived, and culminated.

Lop us off.

Cut us back.

Remove our dead branches and spindly limbs.

Prune and clean and clear.

That’s right.

Make way for the new.

The up-and-coming.

A fresh start.

Green shoots.

Tender leaves.

Discard the old and dying.

But don’t forget.

Those limbs and branches and bushy stalks were young once too.

And weathered drought and hail and hard freezes.

And lived.

Read more poetry!

 

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