In Memoriam: The Loss of the Holy

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( a close up of a piece of the magnificent cottonwood canopy that arced its way overhead and met the ground – photo 2018)

 

Something’s wrong.

I stopped dead

in my tracks as I

passed through the gate

startling the pre-dawn sky.

 

I was on my way to the river.

It was dark.

Gazing up at my beloved

Cottonwood Cathedral

I couldn’t see,

But why couldn’t I feel her Presence?

 

A fearful hole

ripped through my heart

as dread seeped in.

Some alien force

had smashed the Peace.

 

When I reached the river

La Llorona was sobbing

her veil of mist

smudging the trees with a shroud.

 

Retracing the path at dawn

the terrifying sight of

severed limbs –

the loss of

supple arches

that swept the ground

with their bountiful grace,

limbs bowed low in surrender…

shattered the wonder of this holy place –

twisted knives in my gut.

 

To lose a holy place

is to be annihilated.

 

Both the trees and I

have lost our limbs

like the handmaid once did

to mindless slaughter

by those that neither

see or feel.

 

Never again will

we rejoice in the

reciprocal

joy that the holy

bestows on

those that are

capable of Love.

 

 

For three years I have walked through the Cathedral of Cottonwoods, sometimes two or three times a day just for the simple pleasure of feeling the peace that these Matriarchs of the Bosque bestow upon anyone who can feel their benign yet powerful presence. In just one place beyond the gate the holy lived… and day after day year after year I would stop just to feel the peace – amazing grace. This spot was my sanctuary, the one place on this property that somehow felt like it belonged to me as I did to her.

 

Today my sanctuary has been destroyed forever. This tree destruction occurred either in my absence or sometime during this past week when my dog has been so ill that I have barely stepped out the door except to make a harrowing trip to the vet.

 

My body is still struggling to process the magnitude of this loss. Intentional or not it feels malevolent. Each time I walk through this area someone in me screams out “NO NO, not here.” My most beloved place. Gone, the severed limbs will bare ugly scars until the tree itself returns to the earth in death…

 

The worst part of this story is that the severing of the arms of the tree accomplished virtually nothing. These beautiful arches were beyond a fence… and part of a path to the river. There was absolutely no reason to senselessly destroy them especially since dead branches still hang over the same area.

 

The severed limbs also remind me of a fairy tale…In the “The Handmaid’s Tale” a father betrays a glorious apple tree that is also his daughter for money. This bargain with the devil intensifies as the dark one insists the father chop off the girl’s hands. At this point after a second unconscionable betrayal the child leaves home with her severed hands and throws herself on the mercy of nature, who eventually restores the young woman’s hands…

 

My beloved cottonwoods will not have their limbs restored but perhaps there’s a message in this story for me.