May I?

have this dance? cross this line? have more? call you? take this book home? ask you a question?

What do these May I questions evoke in you? Who do you see asking each question? Is it ever you? Is it never you?

Is May I polite or argumentative? Is it neither? What is it then?

Are these questions hard for you to answer or easy or mindless or annoying?

May I surround you with love? (maple hanging on in New York City)

May I dream

May I have this dance? (ancient oak persisting in London)
May I make a promise that I will keep? (Dogwood buds foreground, Pin oak background left)
May I protect you even as I age; delight you as yet again I burst forth with color and dance? (copper beech)
May I accompany you along your way? (ornamental cherries)
May I show you that new life emerges even as winter’s emissary, snow, strives to remain? (dogwood again)

The next five photographs are of two tulip poplars. The first three are of a tulip poplar I recently discovered a mere half mile from the one I have been watching for years, the one that is slowly, graciously dying and is the subject of the final two of these five photographs. After photograph three and before photograph four is a paragraph from one of my favorite books of all time, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard.

May I, even as I am —
— May I show you that despite you I am again?

“A tree stands there, accumulating deadwood, mute and rigid as an obelisk, but secretly it seethes, it spits, sucks, and stretches; it heaves up tons and hurls them out in a green, fringed fling. No person taps this free power, the dynamo in the tulip tree pumps out ever more tulip tree, and it runs on rain and air.” (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard)

May you know that I am and can, and will
May I let you know that before you were even seeded, I was, I am
May you know that the gingko, which this is, is prehistory.

And that gingko note, the very word, prehistory, makes me laugh, a bit joylessly. The fact we hold anything before we humans were is, semantically, as not. Perhaps we will begin to read epochal signs a little more humbly. Before we were is was. Will we, singlehandedly, bring it all down along with us?

So many sources of life surround us. May they be.

May we hope that these two trees along with nearly two dozen others survived a planned roadway widening in Euston Square, London? May we find that as our dreams grow more generous, our reach pulls back?

Author: Kate Hemenway

I like to explore, to observe. I like to be within what is around. There is always something to wonder about and to ponder. There is always something.. My favorite ways to get to places are bicycling and walking; or reading, or thinking, or asking. Please feel free to ask back, as I continue to wonder out loud, express joy or concern, or, sometimes, talk through my hat.

4 thoughts on “May I?”

  1. The last photo.  It’s you!Are you saying goodbye to the tree?Telling it how much you appreciate its being?Such a poetic posting.🤗Carole Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


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