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Posted in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish equivalent of Arbor Day.

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Tensions

A sky of emotions
A stormy week
Water in the basement
Power out
Tornado warnings

All seem calm
Compared to my feelings.
Is this crisis my official midlife one?
I do want a sports car
yellow, please
without room for car seats
or groceries
I think of coloring my hair.
Diseases seem more imminent
and deadly.
I’ve added the obituaries
to my daily newspaper fare.
I don’t read them all
Just the ones that sound familiar
Or seem too young.
(That could be someone I knew.
My friends and I are that age.)

The bunny hops by.
The kindergarten girl up the street
Has dubbed it “Fu-Fu.”
It eats the flowers
That the neighbor next door so diligently plants.
Me–I only want trees–
here before me,
likely to outsurvive me.
Flowers are joyous–
But I plant trees.
Maybe that’s my hedged bet with aging.
Flowers are too ephemeral.
Trees,
Long-lived and limbed and lovely,
that make me appreciate
that I am merely another element
of the world in which I live.
Birds, squirrels, rabbits, insects, and me-
We co-exist,
eyes alert, noses twitching,
ready to bolt if someone invades our territory
or behaves at all suspiciously.
But even we can be deceived
By coy, slow, stealthy ones,
The neighbor’s cat that tiptoes into the shrub
Waiting for the hapless fledgling
to lose its guard.

So I watch for that creeping old age.
wary
seeking the island of calm
within the storm.

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz

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