If you haven’t time to transform yourself,
You may have enough to fashion a style
For something basic you’ve done so far
Without any deliberation, like breathing.
It may make a difference, when you stand
At an open window, if you choose to avoid
The small, quick breaths that suggest a fear
Of alien influence. Fill your lungs slowly
And deeply, and maybe you’ll sense
Beneath the layered aroma of tar,
Pine, industrial solvents, and grass
A faint, polleny whiff from a tree you feel
Might teach you something important
If you encountered it more directly.
It’s a leap of faith to believe you’ll find it
On your evening walk when even its name
Keeps to the shadows. Still, your prospects,
However limited, ought to improve
If you make adjustments in your style of walking.
No more shuffling, eyes on the ground,
As if you’re convinced luck is against you.
No more rushing, eyes straight ahead,
As if you’re afraid of missing
A once-in-a-lifetime performance.
The tree may reveal itself to you
Whenever you’re ready to slow your pace
And come to a pause and look around.
Now to admire how its slender trunk
And filigree canopy befit its subtle fragrance,
Or how its shaggy bark and heavy branches
Provide its fragrance a homely foil.
Never mind that it inherits its style
Complete from eons of ancestors while you
Piece yours together by trial and error.
Learn to take pleasure in the effort itself
And you won’t be sorry if you can’t step back
Far enough from your handiwork to see it whole.

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