The Pine Tree Place is perhaps my favorite place in the world. I realize that’s quite a statement for such an obscure cabin in a canyon. But there is something about being there that soothes my soul, that fills my heart, and that brings me peace. I’ve been going there since I was a tiny girl, and all through my life I’ve known I will be greeted with the gurgling spring, waiting for me to drink the clear, achingly cold water til I nearly burst, and walk through the grass, listening for birdsong and the chattering of chipmunks. Perhaps its charm lies in the decades of memories, of family gatherings, of good food, and music in the firelight, the stars brilliant against the night sky. No matter the reason, here, more than anywhere, I feel safe and at home on God’s earth. This poem is an attempt to catch the essence of what being there brings to me.
The Pine Tree Place
Walled with thick stands of aspen and pine trees,
Nestled in a sheltering canyon curve,
Hank and Mary’s two-room cinder-block cabin sits,
Foundations melting into the ground,
Creating an uneven meeting of
Weathered cement and wheat grass.
Chattering chipmunks, humming bees,
Trills of birdsong, and the rustling of aspen leaves
Whispers a welcome
To sunlit meadow and mountain spring–
An oasis of nature removed
From the pel-mel pace
Of an electric powered world;
– blaring TVS, ipods, clicking keyboards,
Thrumming washers, dryers, dishwashers,
Vacuums, and fans, creating chaos.
I long for times past–wild strawberries and flowers hidden among the brush,
Earthy, silvery-green moss growing on boulders and trees,
Watercress edging the gurgling creek, a hawk lazily circling in the sky,
Indian arrowheads in the meadow await.
The cabin’s creaking door leads into a cool, dim interior –two small rooms:
An old-fashioned cookstove, its black stovepipe crusted with smoke of years past in one,
And in the other a metal bed frame supporting a down-trodden mattress; and a small dresser,
Its age-scarred top home to old Reader’s Digest and Western Horseman magazines;
And a chunk of an aspen tree, the legend “Mary and Hank”
Carved on its full roundness.
Tucked away in the rolling foothills of my stompin grounds,
the Pine Tree Place, a welcome slice of solitude.
Sprawled on the porch bench, I relax, daydreaming;
Basking in my grandparents’ legacy, I am content.