I Plant Trees to Water Them ~ Jim Dameron

 

I plant trees from nursery stock,
Ponderosa and lodgepole
Mountain ash and syringa,
Some years ten,
Other years a hundred.

I water the new ones
Using a pasta pot
Dipped into a mountain stream
Then carried in ever-widening circles
With the hope that a few gallons
Will make a difference.

It can be hard work
And some days I begrudge them
Their smallness.
Only a few
Will clear my head height
Before I die
None will ever be tall enough
To provide me with shade
Or strong enough
To hang my hammock upon.
I have no patience,
No kids to think about,
No clear sense
Of an obligation to future generations.

But today as I stooped to the river
Complaining of my bad back
And my aching hip,
My silver bucket
Caught the sun just right
And a spawning salmon
Moved without moving
Out of shadow
Toward me.