Earth Etude for Elul 27: Speaking Through Underground Networks

by Rosie Rosenzweig

At my land’s end, the Burning Bush began an early blush this past July when its bright green leaves were to be made bold by summer.
It, like me, is aging quickly towards some end not yet in sight.
Now, only the hydrangea tree blooms. Gone are the fulsome stalks 
of my ever-blooming ones, fading into brown from their new-born white lace. 
I sweltered at the end of August when, weeding my yard to give my plants more life,
I sought to do the same with the lingering debris hidden in me.

When will that arise? In the middle-of-the-night when seasonal dreams 
are sent to examine my life? Will a sudden memory infiltrate
when I watch some intense family drama on the stage? 

Once, in Nova Scotia, over 50 years ago, my eyes seized on a bald eagle, rarely seen then at home,
flying above our tourist boat. Beak curled, talons ready, 
floating aloft on motionless wings, he glided for miles to nest in Canada for safety. I wondered at his flight, and yearned, in vain, to see him again. 
At my backyard feeder, I see only the local finches, cardinals for color,
black-capped chickadees, and the brief sojourn of a rose-breasted grosbeak. 

This morning parade with breakfast is a meditation in itself.
Just yesterday, a hummingbird admonished me mid-air with the reminder
that I once filled a window feeder with sugar water just for him. A memory, 
as invisible as his wings, flickered by my mind, hovered, and flitted away 
elusive and quick with the faint buzz of his spheroid flight. 

I’ve read that trees have a secret language speaking through underground networks to share water with their roots when drought attacks their sap. Hearing when a virus will strangle the earth, they know when pandemics creep the globe. I pray they speak to me, warn me as they sing their eulogy of leaves, and help me know which wrong to pound from out my heart. 
Today, all I can do is water them with what I have.

A resident scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center, Rosie Rosenzweig just published her poetry book “Bring Me into Flesh”, as well as “Emergence: the Role of Mindfulness in Creativity”.  Her memoir, “A Jewish Mother in Shangri-la”, describes her travels to meet her Buddhist sons’ teachers in the U.S., France, and Nepal.

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