Stand back and calm your shaking hands.
You’ve sat looking at this tree for twenty-three years now.
Today you should begin to climb.
Throw that dusty rope over your shoulder and climb;
The rope you unearthed from your father’s barn.
We’ve been through this before.
You know every loose piece of bark and every knot on this tree.
Put your foot to the right as there is a new hole the woodpecker created.
He labored without rest, so thank him by using his creation.
Grab that branch to the left.
It is weak, but will hold you for now.
Eventually it will snap and you will fall and break your heart, but not today.
Today it is strong enough and you will not seek its strength tomorrow.
Is this tree top higher than you recall?
“Yes, the view is more beautiful than the memory my eyes retain.”
Shuffle out on that strong limb and medicate your pounding heart.
Do you see that nest straight ahead?
Do you hear the cry of the young begging to be filled?
They have been abandoned; left here to die alone.
In the comfort of each other, but alone.
Look at these fiery leaves rustling in the breeze.
In the hands of death they catch our eyes.
We see their inner color and shed a single tear at their passing.
Let them fall and we will miss them.
If they stay atop this tree, they will never know love.
Are you seated comfortably? Why do you shake so?
You have not shaken this violently since one year ago.
Do you remember that day you climbed?
Persistently you were, but with a cowards heart you climbed down.
Look how pathetic this hollow tree is!
Eaten by bug and critter from the inside out.
The view is a facad, for you and I see the decay within.
We know how empty it is.
Start tying; loop and wrap until I tell you it is sufficient for your weight.
Good; we are complete.
Trust me, this noose is the only way you can keep your head up.
You will always look to the heavens and all will know your worth.
I hear your heart trembling; be still.
Just pray for the Northern wind to blow swiftly with purpose.
Let the wind rattle these arms and shatter your limbs.
I see it in your eyes; you remember the smell of this rope around your neck.
Mold and mildew fill your nostrils.
You hid it so well though!
You buried it in the darkest corner of your father’s barn.
None could smell the fear and sweat you smothered it with.
The stench you left behind somehow did not alert the hounds that slept quietly;
Quietly they slept inside their warm, white kennels.
Do you hear that? The leaves stir and the highest points sway!
Close your eyes and embrace the darkness.
Clench them so tightly, that you see a mirage of light.
That falsehood you see is better than this reality that you know.
Breathe deep. STOP! I told you not to open your eyes!
Do not fix your eyes to the south.
Look inside the shell you are atop!
My throat dry and aching, I whisper,
“I see beauty though; I see something I want to know.”
But THIS is beauty far beyond your deceitful eyes.
Here, we’ll let go together.
On the count of three, we will swing in the wind.
As the leaves of summer, when their time is complete, we will sway.
The earth will be our home eternal and you will be whole.
“I can not look away from this beauty!”, I protest with tears in my eyes.
“Do you hear my vocal chords scratching the air?
Are you mindful of my hurt or does my breath fall to the rocks, just shy of your ears?
Your arrogance was your undoing.
The beauty my eyes are fixed upon seems true, unlike the lies that you spew.”
Lifting the rope, I lower my head.
Looking away, I descend in the same manner as I did ascend.
Not as planned in the arms of six, but the arms of one;
Arms that will lead me home in an hour so sweet.
They will guide me to beauty and away from the hollow shell I am.
I return to my father’s barn and hide the rope once again, as I pray I forget its home.
The fire in the sky never shown so brilliant as today.
Footsteps ever forward will be my tail.
If ever I return to this tree, may it be with metal and wood in my hands;
No rope in sight.