Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, whether it is for the trimmings or the festive mood, or simply the various moments of gratitude that make our lives special. This year I struggled with composure, with keeping my tears in, and the hardest part was wishing people “Merry Christmas” when feeling merry was the furthest thing from my emotions. I just couldn’t bring myself to wish anyone Merry Christmas this year. I wrote very few emails, and at dinner on Christmas Eve, when all the glasses were raise, I toasted but could not say the words.

I accepted the greetings and the blessings, but my heart mourned the absence of my beloved parents this year. So I sought solace in photography and found myself drawn to the intricacies of the barren winter trees. Then I found a poem of Maya Angelou that bridged my emotions and the trees.

hohenheim13
©MT Herzog

When Great Trees Fall

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
 
When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.
 
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.
 
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.

We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.
 
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”
Maya Angelou

Advertisements