By: Jorie Heilman

Posted: November 26, 2018
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Staff Post

To the Shades of Green


There is a stump
That offers a place of rest.
It is an open invitation, and
Each day someone new accepts.
Sitting, standing, balancing,
Eating a bowl of cereal, greeting the fine
Morning, appreciating the close of day
From the vantage point provided
By this obliging host.


Today the stump challenges me
To spend a moment before I leave,
To count the shades of green.
I laugh, knowing my hair would be gray,
Before I was able to quantify
The seemingly-infinite hues.
I look out toward the leaves.


As I begin to count
And differentiate one from another,
I realize I might consider
The leaves on the ground.
Shades of brown
Once hung from a nearby tree,
And retain an unseen vibrancy.
And then the new flushes—
Bright pinks and reds—
Will soon fail to stand out
As they make way for newcomers.
Do I count these too?
For the shades of green they once were
And will one day be?

My eyes lose their focus
And then, I notice
The leaves have been waving,
Kindly asking for my attention.
Unceasingly, in the wind,
They welcomed me and so many others
Who arrive—the shades of green to be.
And wish us well, those
Who leave—the shades of green that were.

I give a small wave in return
And thank my host.
I decide I will try to
Instead of count,
The feeling of
This life of green.




→ Rainforest Studies in Australia

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