Tag Archives: trees

Trees Resting

Trees Resting  —by Jinny Batterson

Behind our townhouse is a strip of woodland,
Too narrow and too steep to build on.

In warm seasons, its leafy expanse helps mute
The noise of the car and truck traffic beyond,
Helps disguise the bareness of our increasingly
Urban former small town.

In warm seasons, it diminishes the din of earth movers
Destroying woodlands a little further away–
Woodlands a little wider, less steep– gouging space
For more townhouses, apartments, or condos.

In this season, though, most of the leaves are gone,
Leaving just fringes of scrub pines drinking in
The diminished sunlight, leaving the dormant beech
To let last year’s bleached remnants flutter in the wind.

In this season, I hear and see the traffic,
Grate at the incessant “beep, beep, beep”
Of construction equipment nearby.

In this season, the trees are resting, saving up sap,
Rooting deeper in advance of the
Next set of warm seasons, when
Their new growth may again green the hillsides.

In this novel season of pandemic-enforced rest,
My dreams are sometimes dark.
On especially noisy days, I imagine a world
Without cars or condos or humans,
Only trees, resting.

                                              Trees resting

Karen the Dental Hygienist Loves Trees

Karen the Dental Hygienist Loves Trees      by Jinny Batterson

(This poem was written soon after we moved to Cary, North Carolina, a “tree city” that, like many suburbs,  struggles to balance residential and commercial development with maintaining the natural environment.)

Went to get my teeth checked.
New town, new dentist, new office.
Still adapting to a shared-car family,
I rushed in on foot,
Slightly late, flustered, out of breath.
Calmed down. Filled out the paperwork.
Sat in the dental chair.
A plumpish woman with a slight
Carolina twang to her speech
Came in.

“Hi, I’m Karen. I’ll be cleaning your teeth.”

Between whirs of the polishing machine,
Scrapings of tartar,
Flossing of gaps between teeth,
She rambled out parts of her life story:

“I grew up around here.
I used to play in the woods
At my grandma’s farm.
It’s been sold now–a country club.
Most of the trees are gone.

I love trees.

When we moved to Texas a while back,
I insisted that the builder
Put a tree in our backyard–
Not a scrawny little sapling,
But a real tree,
Big enough to climb in.

I watered that tree every day,
All through a Dallas summer.
The builder swore it would never survive
The Texas heat, but it lived.
Back here, I have a whole yard full of trees.”

Released at last from the dental equipment,
I glance past her
To the trees framing the office windows.