I want you to touch me like a tree.
And although I am high,
I want to be like
The one you look down at.
Not because I am small, no (for I am 400 years old), but because
I live with my root system exposed.
I want you to guess what kind of maple I am with your eyes closed.
I want you to guess what kind of maple I am with your eyes closed and your
Blindfolded with leaves,
Tied up with grass,
I want you to guess what kind of maple I am not with your eyes or your hands see
I want you to taste me and
And I want you to taste me like a tree.
I want you to peel my clothes off like bark and I want you to find my sweet spot (No, not there,)
I want you to ignore what is obvious.
Because although you are aware of my thick, rounded layers, you are
curious about what I sound like underneath,
I am hard and I am soft,
I want you to hear me like a tree.
Use your ears:
My body is a delicate mix of flesh and sap and wood.
Yes, I want you to peel off my bark and find my underneath spots like
My earlobes and my elbows, yes
I want you to taste my elbows.
I want you to taste my earlobes and my elbows but
I want you to wait until March because
March is maple syrup season.
March is maple syrup season and I want you to honour and respect the
earth’s natural rhythm, see
Earth’s natural rhythm is not separate from my rhythm, see
I want you to know that I am earth’s rhythm.
I want you to feel me like a tree.
I want to get my sticky on you.
I want you to be covered in my sticky and
Just for fun,
I want you to try and contain me.
Not out of power or control but of wonder.
I want you to fail.
I want you to cry when you fail.
Not out of anger or defeat but of surrender.
I want you to wrap your fingers around the circumference of my thigh and I
want you to not quite be able to.
I want there to be space where your fingers can’t touch and
Every year, I want this space to change,
Bigger, smaller, I want you to get lost in
My circles of growth.
I want you to move me like a tree.
And although you are strong, I want you to move only my branches, see
I want you to know that my roots are connected to the core of the earth and although they can wrap around you, they have nothing to do with you,
let me explain see
My roots are not actually mine,
They are my sisters’ before me.
And when the wind blows, I will not fall down, not because you are holding
me up but because
I cannot fall down because
I have roots that connect with the core of the earth of my sisters’ and
mothers’ before me.
I want you to cut me like a tree.
I want you to cut me and
I want you to peel me.
I want you to collect whatever comes out in a birch bark bucket.
I want you to make liquid come out of my body because this means that
Everything is moving.
I am moving.
And although you collect me,
I want you to never completely understand me.
Because even I know there is nothing more complex than the way the sap
moves through the trunk of my body,
And even scientists have trouble defining the process.
I want you to know, only, that I carry a “watery, slightly sweet fluid.”
And this “watery, slightly sweet fluid” is produced by every one of my cells
and that if you open not only your mouth or you heart but your cells too,
This sap can feed you.
I want you to know the difference between me and in imitation. See,
With iron, potassium magnesium calcium phosphorous, trace amounts of
vitamins B2, B5 and niacin,
Not to mention higher calcium contents than milk (because I care about
your bones and so)
I want my sap to feed you.
I want my sap to bypass your brain and flow into your body, because (now I
read this in a book I can’t recall the name of, but:)
“The way that maple syrup flows inside a tree is one of the least understood
mysteries of nature.”
And if you really want to know exactly when my sap flows, you’d better
make friends with missus moon.
Because according to some of the most beautiful people the third full moon
is the maple moon.
And the maple moon shines only during the time of
year when the sap flows.
And I want you to ask: Does the moon shine make the sap flow or does the sap flow make the
And I want to say:
It doesn’t matter.
And I want us both to realize that probably both does both and that’s what
mother calls a symbiotic relationship.
So like Mother and all her green children
I want us to be like the tree and the moon.
I want you to write you initials on me.
I want you to crawl inside me,
This story takes place inside a leaf, 400 years ago.
And if you could shrink and crawl inside a maple leaf you’d find yourself in
an efficient sugar-making factory transportation system and
I want to take you to a delicate mix of flesh and sap and sweet and wood.
And even though I’m only 26, (or 56 or 36 or 103 or 3) I want you to know
that my story doesn’t end here.
My sap flows,
My roots grow,
And nothing begins or ends here.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: courtesy of the author