“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” — Joyce Kilmer
Trees. They pose in the forest in all of the states of aging, sometimes graceful and sometimes in a tangle of sudden felling.
Did these trees consent to be tattooed? Did it hurt?
I learned this about bark:
“Each year a tree essentially grows a new “coat of wood” over the older wood. The outside layer of the tree is dead bark which provides protection from the environment. The inner bark layer is composed of live tissue that transports food downward. Between the bark and wood is the cambium layer which is responsible for increases in tree diameter (by creating annual rings) and responds to injury by producing callus tissue.” http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/trees-new/text/tree_anatomy.html
I’m guessing that the bite of the knives that carved these mementos, or messages, or signs of personal ego was not stronger than the bark.
But what of the scars brought about by quick, unexpected bolts of lightening? Or of the slow and steady, chronic irritation inflicted by woodpeckers and tiny insects invading the cambium?
When I do a tree pose next I will think about, not my precarious balance, but the strength of my cambium, which has been so tested by the lightening bolt of marital infidelity, the steady irritation of a thousand tiny bangs and cuts and sappings of energy brought about by daily life in the forest of humanity.
No sapling I, may the gnarls of time make me as majestic as this: