How to Care

This morning
I awoke with a sad and lonely friend
who had begun to forget his soul
and could not remember where to find it again.
His eyes would not meet mine;
his face was tight and hard.

The forest will forgive you, I told him.
She will take you in her tender, gnarled arms and hold all
because she knows you will soon be gone.

The forest will forgive you, I told him.
She will listen, and your thoughts will fall like quiet flakes
upon her snowy, open palms.

Listen with your feet
and hear how your steps are 
part of her voice.

She will always take you back,
because to her you have never left.

She will rejoice in your slow and pensive steps
as you wonder,
“How could I have traveled so far
from this again?”

And she will tremble as you kneel at her feet
where trunk meets soil
where root emerges from leaf and needle –
She will tremble as you touch your forehead
to the creased skin of her old, brown face and,
with a deep sigh,
smile, as you remember something good –

Vanilla, the weight of an old blanket,
Her hand placed gently upon your cheek.

With a deep sigh you remember,
smile, and tell her, Thank you.
With a deep sigh, you remember.

My friend nodded, stood slowly
and began again.