Can’t say I wrote any compositions like this as Sunday night homework when I was fourteen.
The Secret Keeper (by Rebekah Anderson)
To a bird, I’m a home. To a child, I’m a ladder. To a neighbor, I’m privacy. To a yard worker, I’m a nuisance. To a lawn mower, I’m a yield sign. To most people, I’m a part of the scenery that will only be noticed by my absence. I’m the living thing that eagerly reaches its many arms upward, toward the rare Ohio sunshine. The plant that dresses with the seasons. That bears the dent of your first mowing lesson. That used to carry you into the wind—tire and all. The jungle gym whose knots and branches made me the best climbing tree in the whole neighborhood. I’m the one who held your grimy, bloody fingers the first time you tried to climb me. That lost some bark to your grip, and took some of yours in return. I’m the one who held the first baby birds last spring. Whose shady branches read with you all last summer. Who looks into your bedroom window in the bitter winter weather, trying in vain to escape the cold. I’m the one who owned this property for decades before your arrival and will be here long after you’ve gone. I’m quiet, but not unaware. I hold secrets no human will ever discover. Secrets of past centuries. Secrets of recent sorrows. Secrets too dear for words, disclosed only during the whispers of my leaves and the creaking of my branches.