Sunday, May 2, 2010

He'd loved always his reasons for climbing trees


And so, he thought, he would need to climb
the tree itself.  He'd climbed trees many times
in play when he was a boy, and many times 
since, when he'd a reason.  He'd loved
always his reasons for climbing trees.
But he'd come now to the age of remembering, 
and he remembered his boyhood fall from an apple tree,
and being brought in to his mother, his wits
dispersed, not knowing where he was,
though where he was was this world still.
If that should happen now, he thought, 
the world he waked up in would not be this one.
The other world is nearer to him now.
But trailing his rope untied as yet to anything
but himself, he climbed up once again and stood 
where only birds and the wind had been before,
and knew it was another world, after all,
that he had climbed up into.  There are
no worlds but other world: the world
of the field mouse, the world of the hawk, 
the world of the beetle, the world of the oak,
the worlds of the unborn, the dead, and all
the heavenly host, and he is alive
in those worlds while living in his own.
Known or unknown, every world exists 
because the others do.
The treetops
are another world, smelling of bark,
a stratum of freer air and larger views,
from which he saw the world he'd lived in
all day until now, its intimate geography changed
by his absence and by the height he saw it from.
The sky was a little larger, and all around
the aerial topography of treetops, green and gray,
the ground almost invisible beneath.
He perched there, ungravitied as a bird,
knotting his rope and looking about, worlded
in worlds on worlds, pleased, and unafraid.
There are no worlds but other worlds
and all the other worlds are here,
reached or almost reachable by the same
outstretching hand, as he, perched upon 
his high branch, almost imagined flight.
~ Wendell Berry, from: 'A Timbered Choir'