Ann Keiffer

Stripped Down

Winter in California.
Chilly winter rains
and mind-sweeping
winds have knocked
down all the oak leaves
from the treetops
outside our windows.

Stripped down, the
oaks reveal themselves:
patches of green moss,
the verdigris of lichen,
scabby striations of bark,
globular oak galls,
and the angles of trunks,
twists, turns and tilts, the
twiggy-reach of branches.

No longer about shade,
acorns and green leaves
or coppery canopies,
the trees become form.
In daylight, every bird
that alights there,
every tiny titmouse,
chickadee, morning dove
or red-headed woodpecker
is showcased by the spareness
of the oaks’ bare branches.
At night, the oaks become mere
line drawings done in charcoal
on a canvas of mist and fog.

As the seasons turn for me,
signs of the life I’ve led show
unambiguously on me, too:
gray hair, crepe-paper skin,
my history written in scars
and in telltale signs of grace.
The season of my blooming
and my bearing is done.
I am open to whatever comes.
I, too, become more form,
more essence, more a setting
for something Other,
something other than myself.

 Ann Keiffer
January, 2011

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons License TooFarNorth


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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