Evergreen Trees Like Belief


After the funeral, we snowshoed pathways
into the forest, our minds winter-stalled

while the dogs plowed ahead, noses low to the ground
in search of tiny creatures tunneling

through last night’s snowfall.
Red pines, their narrow crowns filtered radiant light

where hoarfrost contoured needle-sharp branches, glazed a sky
blue and brittle, shimmered blue spruce in the understory.

What quirk of wind startled the trees,
awakened monuments of spectral towers,

sent snowflakes spiraling, glittering the frigid air
over firs bowed in frozen elegance?

Green a balm in the shadow of stark trunks.
Grounded under the weight of snow,

a patient network of roots waits, witness to a lone chickadee
in the highest branches, its spring whistle honed

to crack open the blackness of the jack pine.