Old Sycamore

-- By Steve Carroll

Sycamore Islander, November 2002

Who knows how you, old sycamore, became the perfect launching pad for the perfect rope swing that became the famous upriver playground for us kids of all ages that frequented Sycamore Island and environs. But a least 170 years ago you were born or more likely regenerated from the confused intermingled mass of roots that seem like the dense skeleton of some giant ship so tightly woven and meshed so as to actually hold the river itself in its bowels. You may never have been born from seed but rather to be another of millions of shoots from ancient roots that form the very matrix of the bank, the slope, the rocks and debris that we call riverside. To what prehistoric age do these roots go back? Ah, but thatís another tale.

And who knows what storms racked you and what floods pulled you down and into the current so as to almost seem a part of that current, a fractal of the larger tidal moon- pitched earth so effortlessly did you blend into the bank, your arms beckoning all of us kids to come and play. Old and patched sycamore they have cut you down. You were too perfect, too human, you spoke our language, many trees try to speak to us but we just donít listen. Weíre usually off with our own kind. But you GREAT SYCAMORE ROPE SWING TREE, YOU SPOKE TO US AND WE HEARD YOU. How far will we trudge up river or down to find your brother? Will he speak to us so clearly as you? You know we want you back. But by some mysterious genetic alchemy have you foreseen and recreated yourself? Or will we never find another with your arms, with your swaying might, with your deep lap of river pool to receive us when swing out, out, out, over river and into sky? I would like to hold that dream of your rebirth else this remorse be a kind of haunting pall that shadows me and deprives me of all joy. So, as your roots run deep and endlessly, so my dreams would rather have you again and not your mere memory. So, as you were never born have never died, I need only seek among your roots to see a new vision of you and hold this within my heart where all healing and birth and death and birth abide. Oh noble tree, I will not mourn you but be bourn back by you to our common mother and be born again myself. Thank you Ancient One, Hamadryad, OLD SYCAMORE ROPE SWING TREE, THANK YOU BROTHER!!!!