Trees are stepladders

I want to know
how trees sound
inside the hollow
of my cheeks, and how
their wrinkled, rufous skin
feels like on my my tongue.
I want their roots
branching out of my hair
and their foliage as
foot massaging cream
to keep me going
until I see the rivers
float upstream.

I am a tree-hugger. I don’t protest out in the open about deforestation; not yet at least. I just like hugging trees. I feel at peace being close to them. Pressing my cheeks against the bark on their crumbling breasts. Skidding my fingers along the curvatures of their hips. Sniffing the sun-burnt resin in their souls.

Peacock Tree, Kodaikanal

I have never regretted climbing a tree. Sure I have been a tumbling mound of flesh around her. Considering how excitable I am when surrounded by things I love, I have fallen off trees on several occasions. The funniest one found me crashing down, like a stiff drummer monkey doll, after I mistook a creeping vine for a serpent. The scariest was when I had almost fallen into the mouth of a waterfall after slipping on a moss-covered branch.

I can’t help it though. Sometimes I see one and I just have to climb it. I need to make a connection. Or engage in a conversation to find out why our paths might have crossed.

Monkey Tree, Masinagudi

I want to inch closer to put my one of arms around them. They will whistle, creak and fiddle with dying woodwind instruments. And I will speak to them, in plain English, about the love I keep inside my back-pockets.

Trees are stepladders to somewhere always nice. The weather might not be different when I am up there. But it always changes when I climb back down.

The trees featured were photographed across Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Peacock Tree is a tourist attraction at the pine forest near Berijam Lake. The one with the monkey tattoo is a beautiful coincidence found near the Bison Valley in Masinagudi.

51 thoughts on “Trees are stepladders

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  1. I’m glad you’re so touched by the trees. This poem would have been much different if you were touched by bees. I’m grateful that isn’t the case. You share a ton of amazement. Always inspiring.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. There is a nice little essay on you tuvbe that tells about the artists and how they always put a tree in anything the draw or paint. If someone sayw Paint a cat. The people from this place paint a tree and a cat. If they are to paint a cloud. There is a tree under it. A portrait? It is the person and a tree. What you wrote and photographed brought the song Thousand Year Dream and the pictures to mind right away. Why? Because India. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

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