Tuesday, May 3, 2011

poplar pomp and circumstance

This creature overshadows the entire yard.
   Not just mine - it sits strategically at the junction in our back yard
   so that it can deposit spring stickies and yellow fall leaves
   onto four different properties.
   A good wind can give an even better distribution.

I love the fall yellow
   the climbing challenge for strong teenage boys
       who want to conquer the world
   the birds who hide in the top canopy
       and spy on the world

The roots keep surprising me. 
Sometimes they masquerade
   as underground sprinkler lines.
They meander into my garden,
   tangling up my fork as it digs for potatoes.
They slip under my orderly patio bricks, and create
   berms where they were not wanted.
They sneak across the lawn
   and into the sand box.

And it doesn't matter where they run;
they are constantly testing me.
"Annnnnd ...GO!"  A root sends up a shoot under the tree house.
If I don't pay attention, it calls its friends
   and three more shoot up right beside the successful attempt. 
If I find it and rip it off, it'll go into hibernation for a while.
But it'll come up somewhere else. 
   In the middle of the lawn.  That takes nerve!
Along the fence?  Sick.  Didn't notice that one.  Need a pruner for that small tree.

And slowly it begins to dawn on me...that I will never win this battle. 

As I drive across the open prairies,
   I see the poplars - they grow as families. 
Rarely do you find a lone poplar. 
If one is established, it automatically sends out roots
   that are ready to go instantly from horizontal meandering to vertical scouts.

One storm blew through Delisle a few years ago,
breaking trees as old and established as my poplar
   as though they were match sticks. 
Those big old trunks couldn't hold their arms up through the storm. 
As amazed as I was, I didn't feel sorry for them at all. 
I knew them. 
That wind may have set them back momentarily,
   but the reserves were deep and ready. 
Went back home and looked at my poplar. 
My big old poplar whose leaves give us piles big enough to jump in,
   whose branches could take out a garage, a garden shed,
      several fences and a piece of our roof,
       ... it continues to preside over the junction.
It is positioned to take over the entire neighborhood. 
If that trunk came down, the roots are ready with an instant replacement forest. 
It wouldn't take long!

There is as much energy and potential underground as there is pomp and circumstance above the ground.

Well, you could hardly call the branches of a poplar "pomp and circumstance", could you?
Perhaps "sound and fury", or "flotsam and jetsam".

No, I'll go with pomp and circumstance.