My tiny daughter by the Elm tree.

My tiny daughter by the Elm tree.
The one that gave me my vision.
A real Saul to Paul conversion.
Instead of Damascus,
or other holy sites
My parents’ backyard
in Kansas.
A cloud covered night.
Warm for January, still chilly enough to be urgent.
An urgent sort of awakening.
Barren in January, but not afraid
The Elm was older than all of my anxiety.
25 years, or at least 16,
I was afraid to look inside myself.
For fear of what I might find.
Another story of about a tree,
A confirmation of my inner ugliness.
Every mirror, save one, confirmed this.
I had a grandmother who believed
Everything good about me.
Her love was a small life raft
Circular with a square red cross
But this tree, this tree didn’t believe anything.
It only whispered.
“Take a look”,
“Turn inward, eyes open –
no peering through closed fingers,
and see”.
Like walking off a cliff,
Into waters unknown.
I pressed my whole body into that tree.
“Can you come with me?”
Suddenly courageous, turning, running,
From that cliff, the furthest branch of my self
Back into the deep,
The roots
And what did I see?
Goddess, if that makes more sense.
Not alone,
But underneath everything.
How did I know?
A barren Elm, in the dead of winter
taught me.

— WRL, 1.1.18



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