The gray trunk of the tree just outside the window
crooks and sways its way toward the heavens.
Its branches rise and dip, twist and droop.
Its stand seems to show
a constant battle of light and gravity,
wind and whatever else there is
in northeastern Kansas
that doesn’t like straight.
Loops and knurls catch
bits of the whirling snow,
wild growth sprawling and spurling
toward sky and earth and all sorts of in betweens.
Our lives catch the wind, turn,
slowly spin in between moments of clarity.
We tumble, stubborn and focused,
knowing that we are caught
in this struggle of flesh and spirit:
carnal and yet a little lower than the angels.
We carry the weight,
yield to the work of a greater hand,
and show the tensioned shape
between what we are
and what we were intended to be.
And yet, in that constant struggle
between dirt and glory,
still bear our way upward,
enduring the bone-bruising cold,
waiting for the release of fire and spirit.