The Dawn Redwood at Marquand Park in Princeton.

The hope of seeing our grandchildren for Thanksgiving is diminishing
as the raging pandemic keeps spreading with no end in sight.
My husband and I spend our weekends at the arboretum
wandering among trees and communicating with plants.

Awestruck by the over a hundred feet tall giants, in oval, conical,
and pyramidal shapes, and leaves in different hue and silhouette,
we return week after week spellbound and intrigued
by their appearances and their histories.

Who would have guessed the Dawn Redwood existed at the time
of the dinosaurs. Both believed to be extinct, but the tree was
rediscovered, during the Second World War in Hubei, China.
The collected seeds planted in 1946 in American arboretums.

We are dazzled by the different maples originated from Japan and China,
the peeling branches of the Paperbark in shades of cinnamon colors,
the leaves of the Full Moon, with eleven scarlet, toothed lobes
and the red glow of leaf-bare branches of the Coral Bark in winter.

We order from local nursery a Dawn Redwood, twenty-five feet tall,
and two Paperbark, ten, and fifteen feet high. They arrive in a convoy
of four trucks and get planted in our front and back yards. We name them
Andrew, Colin and Camille, after each of our grandchildren.

Still locked down in New Jersey, we talk to the trees daily,
telling them how much we miss the California family.
Now ardently optimistic about the coronavirus vaccine,
we look forward to meeting the grandkids face to face, in 2021.

Vida Chu writes: “I grew up in Hong Kong, came to America for college, and stayed. I have lived in Princeton for fifty-five years. My poems have been published in US 1, Newspaper, Kelsey Review, US 1 Worksheets, Paterson Review, and others. Since the pandemic, I have been hiking and visiting botanical gardens.”

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