“Commemoration of the Second Oldest Monterey Cypress Tree in California” by Jonathan Sharkey (Port Hueneme 1997)
Who was it that slept beneath your canopy? Who first lingered in your shade? On which day was that first shoot seen? Which bird was it dropped that seed when passing on the fly? How many more have there been that sprouted, grew, and died? Which children climbed in your branches? Did their children’s children too? How many passing by the way Would stop to look at you? The Spaniard passed this way — seems only an hour ago — Horses — then wagons — driven by. How many thought to know your branches reaching o’er the road? Did any pause on summer days enjoy your shade, then go? In winter wind with dripping Mac, did the teamster shelter there, bang out the rain from his storm-soaked hat, water streaking off his hair? Sailors and sinners, preachers and saints, pass by in this long parade. A car, a truck, a bicycle – buildings rise and fall. Lights come on at twilight, go off again at dawn. The ship that was here yesterday is now out to sea and gone. Passing by — the Chumash lad. Passing by — the farmer. Passing by each step, each day, in dust and time each step away from where they lived in their today to someplace even farther on. Yet constant you remain. How do we measure such a life? Seedling, tree, and rotten branch? In our brief passage on this road what is it we can say but, “Yes, I stopped beneath its shade and waited for a while, but I had other things to do and so went on as will you too.” Yet glancing once or twice around we catch a glimpse through clouded eye of all those walking down this road, Grandpaof all our fellow passersby.