Evergreen Trees Like Belief
// Ellen Lager
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.