Willows by Marne Wilson The willows keep no secrets.
They are always whispering among themselves, sharing all they know with each other
and with any wanderers who venture into their realm. It is impossible
to be lonely among willows; their presence is always comforting,
and the more troubling the weather, the more they seek to reassure.
For willows know what it is to be lonesome; when the first pioneer arrives in a place,
it so longs for company that it starts reproducing itself almost immediately.
No, they cannot bear to stay alone for long, although sometimes the observer may be fooled.
As a child I often referred to “that tree,” but my mother’s response was always the
same: “Count the trunks.” What looks like one tree is really
a cluster of many as tightly packed as a herd of cows
sheltering from a storm. And willows shelter each other, too,
holding each other up in the sandy soil where they prefer to live. Over time the branches
perform feats of slow acrobatics, twining together
as they dip low to the ground and then shoot towards the sky,
forming an infinite variety of intricate patterns. Willows have more freedoms than other trees,
but only because of their togetherness.