Tree planting

In a loose circle we gather around the crackling fire
wood smoke scents the air

We are mellow and a little sad
the season is over now and fall is coming on.
Soon we’ll go, each of us, on our own journey.
We reminisce about shared fears, triumphs,
good times and bad,
the fun we had together,
the bonds we’ve formed
slogging through good old Grande Prairie gumbo,
jousting on the log over the beaver pond,
the day of the windstorm and the toppling widow makers
the night the tent caught on fire,
the grizzly encounter,
who planted the most trees in a day
the incredible beauty of the places we have seen,
all of these memories imprinted

Fingers caress the strings of a guitar
Kath’s beautiful voice rises through the night
weaving the words of a John Prine song.
We sit in silent reverie on this magical night
water laps the shore line, Musreau burbles
and a sky so deep and black
studded with brilliant points of light
blankets our world.
Somewhere out there in the darkness
a loon
sends out its haunting call

~ Gwen Wood

Gwen Wood is a mother of two wonderful sons, mother in law to two brilliant women, grandmother of nine great kids, partner of Harold and has two furry friends that are just fabulous. She has worked as a barmaid, waitress, tree planter, park builder, and in a lumber mill. Worked with the homeless, suicide prevention, carried out research on poverty, worked on human rights issues and women’s issues. Gwen loves spending time with her grandchildren, writing, walking, gardening and reading.

“Home is being with the people I love, wherever that is, stew and biscuits or bannock, or curry and roti, sharing food, music, dancing, laughing, stories, and my dog and cat of course.”

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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