"The breath you just exhaled is inhaled by a tree. And again, you inhale the breath that the tree exhales. You follow the cycle of life which has no beginning and no end. Life does not disappear. It simply goes round and round."
There it was I saw what I shall never forget And never retrieve. Monstrous and beautiful to human eyes, hard to believe, He lay, yet there he lay, Asleep on the moss, his head on his polished cleft small ebony hooves, The child of the doe, the dappled child of the deer.
Surely his mother had never said, "Lie here Till I return," so spotty and plain to see On the green moss lay he. His eyes had opened; he considered me.
I would have given more than I care to say To thrifty ears, might I have had him for my friend One moment only of that forest day:
Might I have had the acceptance, not the love Of those clear eyes; Might I have been for him in the bough above Or the root beneath his forest bed, A part of the forest, seen without surprise.
Was it alarm, or was it the wind of my fear lest he depart That jerked him to his jointy knees, And sent him crashing off, leaping and stumbling On his new legs, between the stems of the white trees?
I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over. And what did I see I had not seen before? Only a question less or a question more; Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying. Tiresome heart, forever living and dying, House without air, I leave you and lock your door. Wild swans, come over the town, come over The town again, trailing your legs and crying!
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you, If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you.
From the glaciers of Alaska to the coral reefs of St. Thomas, Anthony F. Chiffolo has been photographing nature in its myriad forms for more than twenty years. His photos of flowers, wildlife, and landscapes have appeared on the covers and in the pages of books such as "Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior," "Shrines of the Holy Land," "Marian Shrines of the United States," "Sadhana," and "Affirmations from the Heart of God." His photography has also been published in pamphlets, brochures, catalogs, and magazines such as "Bugle," "Turkey Call," and "Liguorian." He has exhibited and sold his photos at the prestigious Waterfowl Festival in Easton Maryland; the Fire Island Pines Art Project Biennial Art Show in the Pines, Fire Island; the Hudson River Wildlife Festival in Kingston, New York; and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s “In Celebration of the Bay" in Annapolis, Maryland.
Anthony is also a published author. His books include "Cooking with the Bible: Biblical Foods, Feasts, and Lore" and, forthcoming, "Cooking with the Movies." Please visit his websites and blogs www.anthonychiffolo.com, www.cookingwiththebible.com, and www.cookingwiththemovies.blogspot.com .