“Forest Talk” by David McDonald

A forest stands serenely in a graceful glen
Soaking in the last of the summer sun.
Autumn falls suddenly this year.
The air takes on a crisp cool
That hints of winter.

A fastidious fir notices some of her needles browning
And beginning to carpet the ground around her.
She looks to her left and espies a gingko
With yellow fans dancing on the wind.
Adjacent to the gingko is a maple
Adorned in a shimmering sheath of orange.

"What is going on?" she asks.
"Why are you two putting on such a show?"
"This is our seasonal celebration,"
Replies the maple warmly.
"But winter is coming," the fir fires back.
"Shouldn't you start storing energy and losing leaves?
Why put on such a flamboyant facade?"
Gingko goes next, "We have months until we see snow.
Why not put a pinch of pizazz into fall
Before we snooze through the end of the year?"
The fir figured, "Sounds like an inventive idea,
But I like my needles a graceful green.
A fabulous fall to you both and see you in spring!"
A breeze rose, their boughs shrugged
And they went about their ways.

Winter wallops the glen
Snow subdues the community of conifers
And all their neighbors.
The smaller shrubs and plants below
Doze the days away.

An old oak whose leaves have long left
Awakens briefly to see
A stately spruce, still a compact cone
Festooned with his small and deep green leaves.
The oak rouses his next-trunk neighbor
With a subtle, "Sprucey!
How can you bear your branches
While you're napping? Aren't they too heavy
To be completely comfortable?"
The spruce said, "These branches are no bother.
In fact they warm me well all winter."
"Kind of cozy," orated the oak,
"And it seems you enjoy your home-grown blanket.
Not for me, though, I prefer to sleep
Unfettered and uninhibited."
A breeze rose, their boughs shrugged
And they went about their ways.

Spring snuck in unnoticed
Until the bulbs started to blossom and bloom.
Bushes took the hint to put out new leaves
And roused the trees to do the same.

A daffodil, the first one to wake,
Saw an effusive elm
And wondered aloud,
"Ms. Elm, why are you not
Participating in the petal parade?
Can't you find your flowers?"
"Oh my, little Daffy," laughed the lady elm.
"Not everyone can form flowers.
While the magnolia and azalea
Put on a shimmering show,
Many live a life more understated
And perfectly plain."
The daffodil replied with respect,
"The ferns without frills
And the sincere cedars
Are all completely content.
But for me, spring is best celebrated
In living color."
A breeze rose, their boughs and leaves shrugged
And they went about their ways.

This communal cluster
Endures the seasons and years
Different shades of green,
Various textures and shapes,
Diverse beings
Living organically.