Seedling floats on one wing

exhilarating in the freedom of flight

fear of leaving mother


gently touches the ground

new perspective,

seeing how tall and stately is mother


child finds me, l am lifted up to the sky

only to fly down again to my girl

over and over, touching the sky

With a thrill and sense of joy


Betrayal, fear, tears (if I had them)

my girl places me in a hole in the ground

and covers me with moist, warm earth


Oh, the darkness

Why have I been abandoned to

this shallow grave


Ooooh, pain, my body is breaking open

left behind is my wing, my possibility of flight — gone

what is happening, I feel green


what I was has left me

I am seed no more

now I am pushing, moving upward

the pain is gone, I feel excited, rising


I awaken to light, bright sunny light and warmth

my earthen grave now holds my delicate roots

I am free once again, not flighty free

Rooted free


I see mother tree, she waves her lofty branches

and behold, I see my girl

she is as excited as I am and speaks gently to me

encouraging me to reach upward


each day she comes with water that

soothes the growing pains

she builds a small wire fence around me

so no harm will come to me from the dangers of “above ground”


I have a new name, Sapling I am called

that will be my name for many years to come

and then, like mother,

I will be called Tree.

Sister Diane Schoff is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet and lives at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham. She wrote this poem last year after recalling planting a sapling in the yard of her family home in Rome, N.Y. After over 50 years, the tree has become a beautiful, large maple tree.