The Marks of Time

Carol A. Hand

Each moment that’s lived leaves its mark

Like the annual growth rings of trees

 Lean years and times of plenty

Recorded as part of our being

Times of joy and loss visible on our external frame


Maui - 1998
Maui – 1998


Layers of old cells and new, some dead, some living

Protect our inner life-giving center

Nurtured by roots invisible to the eye

Some deep, some shallow, some in fertile soil

And some with little life-giving nourishment to discover

Some growing in native lands surrounded by all their relations

Others transplanted in alien places, alone


Banyan Tree - Maui - 1998
Banyan Tree – Maui – 1998


Transforming light into life as we reach toward the sun

Breathing deeply beneath moon and stars in sometimes gentle breezes

Subject to forces of wind and weather we can’t control

As storms rage around us and chainsaws whine

We still stand as resolute and steady as we can

Drawing nourishment and inner strength

Afforded to us in each moment as long as rains fall

As long as sun rises and continues to shine

Until it’s our time to return to the the earth

Providing nourishment for generations that follow


For more information about trees, here’s a link to a clear overview:


22 thoughts on “The Marks of Time

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Maria, and for raising important questions. Many people around the world believe they can hear trees speak. Sometimes I swear I have heard their messages whispered as the breezes and winds rustle their leaves. It only happens when I’m attuned to the natural world surrounding me.

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  1. Reading this post this morning I am struck by how often we look to trees as a metaphor for our lives. I just finished writing about friendship and used trees as metaphor for the growth and changes in friendship. Wonderful piece of writing Carol.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Bernadette. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about friendships. There are so many fascinating things about trees, our wise and stately relatives that have had the strength and flexibility to weather many storms, and sometimes, centuries for observation and quiet contemplation. 🙂


  2. Carol, I think you would appreciate this song, a favorite of mine in my youth, and one I recently rediscovered. It’s Rings of Life by Michael Murphey, from his early days in the 70’s. It makes similar connections to the thoughtful lines you have penned here. Thank you for the reflections, my friend.

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    1. It is a memorable site, Ken. I had never seen a Banyan tree before – this one was unlike any tree I had ever seen and it was so huge. (My daughter took this shot as I was struggling to get my camera ready to take photos.)


  3. A beautiful post, my friend. There’s something divinely beautiful in the trees: their steadfastness yet ever-transforming nature, their bending in the winds, their ability to inspire fear in the darkness and refuge in the light. Lovely. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Jean, and for your lovely and intriguing reflections about trees. I detect the influence of a mystery writer’s perspective – “their ability to inspire fear in the darkness.” 🙂 It’s not something I’ve associated with trees before, but I can envision the possibility. Trees, per se, don’t frighten me, but they do provide cover for things that might…

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  4. Oh, I love trees! Have you ever put your hands on trees and felt their energy? They can tell you things if you’re still and if you pay attention. People make fun of “tree huggers,” but those people have never hugged a tree and felt the gratitude and connection to eons of living history. 🙂

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  5. Dear Carol, This is such a beautiful poem. The first stanza, referring to the growth rings of trees is excellent!
    Cycles and seasons… Life and death… Nature is a miracle.. and the way trees help to balance the environment is a good proof of it… 😀 Love & best wishes!

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