Library Tree

A Poem By Rick Leddy

PHOTO: Rick Leddy | | The Moreton Fig "Library Tree" at South Pasadena Library

The roots were mountain ranges

When you were young

You climbed and fell in the crevices

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Beneath the shade of the Library Tree

First hobbling, then gaining confidence

As the years became outstretched canopy

And you reached for the sky

You left footprints

Invisible, layered one on top of the other

Added to the others who had come and gone

Waiting for those yet to come

Your roots forming on its sturdy roots

Memories entwined, encircling its thick trunk

I see you so small beneath it

Silhouettes in time

Like the new ones

Laughing, climbing, falling

Running back and forth from patches of colorful rectangles on green

Prayer wheel picnics encircling

Shouting hallelujahs of joy

It whispers ancient and ageless

To those who listen

Embraces the fragile beings who absorb

what it offers

I told you it was a Magnolia tree

But later learned it was a Moreton Fig

You didn’t care I was wrong

As you stared at it in wonder

Craning necks, squinting at the mottled, leaf-blotted sun

You no longer climb on its roots

Its grandeur forgotten with innumerable passings

Taken for granted with familiarity

But you will remember it

When you sigh and remember

Wishing for straighter paths

and less complicated lives

You will recall it when you bring your own into the world

And you will know

It will be here

Waiting for your return