With gnarled persistence, drove its thick roots down,
Conquered the rocks and divided the dirt.
Spread out its branches, claimed this piece of ground,
When people etched into its bark, it hurt.
It survived such scars from their careless blades,
Grew taller, stronger, bore fruit for the birds.
None picnicked beneath to enjoy its shades,
Hard roots ran rampant, to escape the words
Carved for all time on its beautiful skin.
There, by the cave, it was brave; weathered storms,
Bent branches without and strong spirit within,
The world demands change and the soul transforms.
Soft spirit deep inside this elder tree,
Expanded, extended life through its roots.
The Native Americans set it free,
And chose its sacred heart wood for their flutes.
~ C.L.R. ~ © 2012
(( This is a picture I took some time ago, of a really neat Box Elder tree in the Dunbar Cave Natural Area near my home. This tree has always fascinated me and it makes me sad to see how many people have carved their initials or names into its bark. My friends and I used to call it the “Ringwraith Tree” because it reminded us of the tree where Frodo hid from the Ringwraith, but Box Elders also have a very special place in Native American culture.
The Anasazi flutes were carved from these trees, and the originals were only carved from these trees. It was believed that the tree’s unique, sacred spirit was imparted into each flute carved. The Anasazi flute is the flute played by Kokopelli, a Native American Indian fertility god. “It is also said that the hunch on his back depicted the sacks of seeds and songs he carried. Legend also has it that the flute playing symbolized the transition of winter to spring. Kokopelli’s flute is said to be heard in the spring’s breeze, while bringing warmth. It is also said that he was the source of human conception. Legend has it, everyone in the village would sing and dance throughout the night when they heard Kokopelli play his flute. The next morning, every maiden in the village would be with child.“ For anyone who has never heard the beautiful, haunting sound of this flute, I invite you to watch and listen to the video below. 🙂 Enjoy!))
P.S. I also decided to use this for my submission for Victoria’s prompt to write a piece about the word “Spirit”. The spirits of trees lift my spirit in ways I cannot describe. There are some really good entries for this prompt, so you might want to check them out, too!