Peace Blooms

When Great Trees Fall

~ Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

Long Creek Trail
Long Creek Trail

Our hearts were broken this winter. We are patiently waiting for spring. We are existing in the moment when life is about to bloom.

We celebrated our family Easter this morning. It was filled with laughter, but I missed my father-in-law. I kept waiting for my him to sit down to brunch. I craved his basket of Peeps and his story about how they are best in the refrigerator. This afternoon I showed Christian a picture of snow in Saint Louis. He asked if it was my aunt’s photo. The sentence was never finished as he realized my aunt, who live in St. Louis, is no longer here. It wasn’t her photo.

In between those two moments, I ran a handful of miles on the trails today. It rained. It hailed. The air was crisp. Spring is right around the corner, and it will be followed by the heat of summer but right now it is winter. I enjoyed the cool air on my skin.

We are still healing, but with spring a new sense of peace will find our family. Life is being restored. It will never be the same, but we can live better knowing we carry the love of those we lost with us.

The world is waiting to bloom.

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6 thoughts on “Peace Blooms

  1. Posts like this are why I love the blogosphere. I’d never read the poem before, and I needed it today. Thank you for bringing some light to my mind during this pre-Easter slump. This post gives me the kind of hope I can hang on to, rather than the fleeting hope I conjure for myself.

    Take care,

    Casey

    1. It’s one of my favorite poems. When I saw those trees on my run, it came flooding back to me. The trees must have fallen this week during one of our storms. I’m so glad they reminded me of the poem because I needed it too.

      Hang on my friend. Spring is coming!

  2. Beautiful words! The last stanza from “when I think of death” (below) by Maya Angelou is on my grandmothers grave stone:

    “I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return.
    Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake.
    I answer the heroic question ‘Death, where is thy sting? ‘ with ‘ it is here in my heart and mind and memories.”

  3. Kristy…your family is healing. Words like Maya’s are deep inside each of us. Letting go of the pain serves no purpose…instead, your family is living day by day, with the knowledge that two great members of your family will always be with each one of you…memories are sharpened and time will heal. m.

  4. your blog came up as a result to a search on google with a few lines of the poem: ” Ailey, Baldwin, Floyd, Killens, and Mayfeild” by Maya Angelou. I was looking for a copy, my original was becoming illegible. It was given to me by a young man, a patient who died of AIDS many years ago. He was/is a great soul. And though I remember every patient I came to know, there are those who still stand out in my memory…FCA

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