Wolfy in an easy trot at heel,
I maintained my pace up the hill
and realized how often I’d been slowing
to a stroll recently. Our turning point,
the big, low rock embedded
in the dirt road, felt reassuringly firm
and smooth under my foot, but
at that moment a vascular twinge
under my left upper arm unsettled me.
“Okay,” I said aloud to Wolfy and the weeds
lining the road, “I have to get serious now.
More exercise, more consistent exercise,
and I need to lower my triglycerides again,
so that means a crackdown on the carbs.”
I thought about the implications of that,
and my step slowed, weighed down
with diet dread. Wolfy squatted, and I stopped,
assessing the massive tree in front of me.
The trunk didn’t have an ounce of fat on it.
A good, responsible tree isn’t burdened by gluttony
or guilt. Its leaves make sufficient food—no more,
no less. It takes what it needs—not what it craves—
from the soil. Sap flows at the appointed time,
unimpeded by lipids, plaque, or clots. A maple will
never need a sapwood bypass operation.
“So no more dipping into the cherries for me,”
I said to the tree, sighing. “And I suppose
I’ll have to eliminate apricots. Or maybe I should
give up dried fruit entirely, what do you think?”
I waited for some sort of response—a shadow
passing across the bark, perhaps, or a leaf
drifting slowly to the ground—but it was clear
the tree came from a different place.