I. Hope

I planted them with the hope

That my foolish culture will soon desist in its

Suicidal efforts to sever the ties

Between humans and the Earth

The hope that my little efforts can help point others

The way back into the fold, the way

Out of the tangle of deceit woven

By the dutiful soldiers of the culture of death

The hope that in a few years

Or a few tens of years,

My grandchildren will pluck a ripe

Peach off the tree and its juice

Will run down their chins

And fingers and drip off their elbows

And their eyes will close

With laughter

tree

II. Fear

I planted them with the fear

That my culture has gone too far

In its efforts to erase the ties

Between humans and the Earth

The fear that the insults have been

Too severe, the cuts too deep,

the wounds too grave,

the necessary bonds frayed beyond repair

The fear that in a few years

Or a few tens of years

My grandchildren will find

Them withered or burnt or diseased

Or broken by the axes of war

And small tears will run down their cheeks

And drip onto their dry little hands

And their eyes will close

With tiredness

III. Love

I planted them with the love

The singing, ancient, unrelenting love

That my culture has not yet destroyed

Between humans and the Earth

The love that began with the beginning of time

In the forests, rivers, deserts, shorelines, grasslands

And that, while now beleaguered, can grow again

As love is known to do

The love that in a few years

Or a few tens of years

My grandchildren will feel

When the green, leaf-dappled sun

Falls on their small upturned faces

And they will mouth

The sorts of heart-melting little devotions

That children invent in

Their secret shining souls

And their eyes will close

In prayer
image6

IV. Resistance

I planted them with a raised fist.

I planted the chestnuts, pears, peaches, oaks, apples, pawpaws

Hickories, persimmons, elderberries, pecans, cherries,

Hazels, mulberries, apricots, willows, plums, blueberries

Walnuts, maples, locusts, all of them

Just because when confronted with

The grave injustice that is our culture

The only sane response is resistance

And the only moral imperative is action

And the planting of a tree

Or a dozen or a thousand, or 300 million

Is the necessary first step

Of the ten thousand first steps

We must travel

From this beautiful icy solstice morning

To the end of our days,

Carrying our hope, fear, love, and resistance

With us

Like the prayer

Of a child