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May 14, 2015

A Botanist's soliloquy on a spring morning


I have been here for six years,
Yet, so much had remained unnoticed:
A tiny pocket garden laced with ferns, blooming azaleas, and rhododendrons,
Tall trees of heaven,
Chestnut with white flowers, and its cousin red-flowering horse chestnut,
Lindens hidden behind hemlock,
Star Wars magnolia, and junipers,
Black alder, scarlet oaks,
Sweet gum, sour gum, black gum,
And Mt. Fuji’s flowering cherry—all right here.
Who can say that they have origins in different continents?
They seem to have been here forever,
Standing tall together.
Their branches swinging, and caressing each other
The wind is just a medium.
So is the soil underneath, and troops of ants,
And small, chirping birds going by.

All winter long,
The rows of dozens of dark, denuded elms, standing on both sides of a tiny path
Appear as a work of a master sculptor
Today, on this pleasant spring morning,
I am feeling the sandy texture of their newly unfurling leaves,
Smelling the scent of coarse bark,
Guessing the breadth of the canopy above.
For a moment, I look like a tiny shadow of an unknown elm tree.
I am a bit alien here, and a bit familiar.
I am in a friendly company, yet my solitude assured
As are Mugo pine, Scots pine, Bhutan pine with ponderosa pine.
The curved lines, the colors, and the scents remind me
Of something that I have lost on the way,
Of the things and tales I had forgotten.
Here, the edges merge, origins merge
Corvallis, at the edge of the Pacific coast has become my home.

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