Dead and Alive Oak Trees


Winter, Spring
by Jim Harrison


Winter is black and beige down here
from drought. Suddenly in March
there’s a good rain and in a couple
of weeks we are enveloped in green.
Green everywhere in the mesquites, oaks,
cottonwoods, the bowers of thick
willow bushes the warblers love
for reasons of food or the branches,
the tiny aphids they eat with relish.


Each year it is a surprise
that the world can turn green again.
It is the grandest surprise in life,
the birds coming back from the south to my open
arms, which they fly past, aiming at the feeders.



Sabbaths IV (1999)
by Wendell Berry


What a consolation it is, after
the explanations and the predictions

of further explanations still
to come, to return unpersuaded
to the woods, entering again
the presence of the blessed trees.
A tree forms itself in answer
to its place and to the light.

Explain it how you will, the only

thing explainable will be
your explanation. There is
in the woods on a summer’s

morning, birdsong all around
from guess where, nowhere
that rigid measure which predicts

only humankind’s demise.




Photo by Sandra Peterson Ramirez.