To the trees outside my window,

You were green the day we first met. Me too. I was colour blind to both, wide-eyed in the opening world. I looked past you. You stayed, though, patient as a natural cathedral, leaves humming to pass the time. When we met again I was older, wiser, our veins turning yellow. But I didn’t think to stand still like you. Was it weeks? days? months? Finally, I looked up. You were beautiful. I made promises I couldn’t keep – music, paintings, sketches – and intended to see them through.

You were there when my first leaf fell. He’d had more rings than I did, but I think he added a few. What I thought was a gentle breeze was a hurricane. After, when the early light was warming and the boaties were still asleep, you guarded my door like the last centurion. You were my father over the man I missed, loved and lied to. You were my mother over the two non-superimposable images that tugged at my ribs until I caved in on myself. But you let them pull. You waited as I screamed, knowing that my bones would hold and my heart would grow.

You were there when my legs were weak. When each step was a failure and I was alone because only children and the disabled deserve to be carried. My broken brain lied and misjudged but your wispy branches unfurled to kiss me when my back was turned. You missed. Your love went unnoticed.

And then you lost your colour completely. Was it because I was happy? Because I found him? When my temporary protector slipped under your shadow, you were silent. I could almost hear the snow land on his skin, so pale that each ceased have its own identity.

Or was it because I hid from you? It was warm inside and you were an ugly reminder of the pain I didn’t feel. While crooners spoke to me direct, you were a harsh reminder of my roughened core: my future. We are no evergreens for our leaves, when present, sing. I didn’t make you beautiful then; I didn’t transcribe your silenced melodies.

Yet when he left you forgave me. In feeble repentance I blessed your budding fruit. You bear no flowers – you are too old, too wise, too purposeful – you have merely your instrument. As my window opened and I found hope in your bud, you watched over me through solid walls. You countered my trauma with heroic intensity.

And now we are as one. You are in bloom, my protector. Me too. We are a brilliant green, but new bark is hidden in our trunks. We are wiser, though I am not wise, and stronger, though I am still weak and feel pain. Your roots are deep, each of you, but I have not the gift of standing still. So you console me, soothe me, but by this you hurt me. I have wasted my precious time,

And now I lose you.