As I walk through the city, surrounded by concrete castles and steel spires, I take notice of an old maple tree in a small park.
The skyscrapers are like the walls of a canyon, and for a moment, while surrounded by these leaved guardians, I feel distant from the bustle.
I see beams of sunlight poking through fragile fall leaves, warming the cool earth below.
I study the maze of patterns in the maple’s bark, each notch leading a different path down its trunk.
I look down to see her broken branches on the ground, remnants of a lively summer gone by, where blue jays and nuthatches once perched and played.
And it’s then I begin to wonder: perhaps this maple and I are not so different.
For it was this creature, borne out of the wild of nature, that was planted among these concrete paths and sky-high buildings.
She did not choose to be here in this very park, collecting trash in her branches and shielding vagabonds from the rain. No, her heart longs for the wild, to return home to her ancestors.
And so, fall after fall, she sends her seeds into the breeze, in the hopes that she might live vicariously through their perilous journey.
She does not ever give up hope that just one of the many might take root in some distant forest, or turn sapling nestled upon the banks of a small country stream.
For it was man, made in the wild and yet planted in civilization, that finds himself longing to be both free and grounded.
-Kyle Richardson, 11/18/13