“Specimen” (with a nod to Walt Whitman)
On a summer day, sit against a tree
in the shade of its vibrant green umbrella.
Settle into the peace of the day.
A slight breeze ruffles the leaves.
And then everything seems still.
But appearances are deceiving.
Beneath the scaly bark,
Water is being drawn up, up, up.
In the leaves above, sunlight stirs cells,
creating a coursing stream of sugar.
This fresh new food is pumping
through every part of the silent giant.
Grass tickles the back of bare legs.
Listen for the hum of life.
A whole hidden world
lies just beneath the soil.
Roots and mycorrhizal networks
branch off in every direction.
Sharing food, sending messages,
Quietly going about the business
Of making life on earth possible.
Catherine Flynn, Draft @ 2020