No tree towers in the forest proud,
though wide around and crowned in green
with branches casting down serene
shade beneath a sky bereft of cloud.
Without the buffeting wind its roots would fail
to burrow stubborn anchors deep.
Were it not for the other trees
beside, the pull-down winds would soon prevail.
Without the rain the leaf in which it swims
would soon devolve to ragged fare.
Were it not for sunlight, there
would be no leaf at all to clothe its limbs.
Without the song of thrush and mockingbird
wooing haunted woods toward peace,
the magic in the air would cease,
leaving creak and moan all to be heard.
As it is with all things, so the tree
left alone will strive in vain.
Without you, then, my friends, my rain,
my birdsong, sunshine, wind--where would I be?
Less than three weeks ago we said goodbye to our beloved church community in which we served for 22 years. Susan and I were lavished with loving kindness as we left to move up to Washington as so many people expressed thanks to us for our years of service. This poem is my “thank you” back to Hillside. There is no doubt that at the final tally it will be revealed that we received far more from Hillside than we ever gave her. I am and will always be profoundly grateful.