” . . . All you need to do is be a tree like I am,” the Old Oak said to the Wandering Willow who had pulled up her roots like feet and had left home in search of the world beyond her sight. She would set her roots down when she started to wither, but she had forgotten what type of tree she was, because she never stayed rooted long enough to bear any fruit. In desperate anxiety, she had returned home to find out who she was from her wise friend the Old Oak. He had said to her, “Why, you were the Well-watered Willow before you started to wander, but if you really want to know who you are, there’s only one way. . .”
The wanderer is always earnest
He scans the forest with his eye
The cares of home bestir no tempest
But like a flock of blue birds fly.
His mouth is still: no smile nor frown
For such are worn in human play
But here, where neither home nor town
Is seen, the trees their calm convey.
His arms sway soundless, slow and sure
The wake is made through brush and thorn
A beaten heart is rendered pure
Of the riddling greed in which ’twas born.
The power of silence sculpts his soul
Ignoring the “piffles” of muted feet
Like an Ent he roams o’er hills that roll
As life within seeks life to meet.
All this the wand’rer knows full well
And journeys on, but to what end?
His tales no man will ever tell
Unless he takes with him a friend
A friend to share the load he bears
To turn his face from bark to beam
To draw his heart with human cares
And lead him to the mountain stream
The sparkling brook that brings him home
Where fears are stilled and hurts can mend
To this the wand’rer at last will come
When he has found a staying friend.