by Steph Jeffries
Stop whatever you are doing.
Go outside, right now,
Before sunlight lifts the morning dew
And the air is still awakening.
Breathe in the primeval sweetness
Of tuliptree flowers, and watch the squirrels
Nip them off, holding the cups in their paws
Like goblets, imbibing the nectar,
Pulling tepals off one by one
Like an artichoke, then releasing them
To tumble to the ground.
How you could have missed
This small miracle,
Happening just outside your door.
Steph Jeffries is a forest ecologist and Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science at NC State University in Raleigh, NC, where she teaches Dendrology and Forest Communities. She is the co-author of Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests and loves sharing her love of trees and forests with people of all ages. Read more of Steph's poetry at Running with Scissors and follow her on twitter at @scissorsrunning.