WriteOut Guardian, Sycamore

Summer sycamore -- giant reaching to the sky
Summer sycamore — giant reaching to the sky


Today’s WriteOut* includes this Daily Create prompt to write “What trees are there in your neighbourhood? Write a poem about your local, or favourite, tree.

The Story

Many years ago as Scott and I blended our family, we chose this little cottage as our home, mainly for that large sycamore in the backyard, but the kitchen addition helped too. But that tree– we knew the shade and the wildlife it would attract– nature in our backyard.

on Flickr

It’s one of the tallest trees on our side of the town, the west side of the Columbia River. It shades not only our yard, but also the neighbors’ yards. It’s huge lobed leaves are one of the last to sprout in spring and often do not fall until after the first snowfall, which makes it difficult to rake up in the fall season.

Here’s a picture from a November — see all the leaves we’ve already raked, but look: so many more that won’t fall until January, probably, when everything is frozen and often covered in snow. But, we love our tree.

Squirrels run across its branches to the roof and onto the wires that flow through its branches like its own highway to the neighborhood. Orioles rest on their migration route. A hummingbird has returned for two years now to nest on a dainty, dangling branch. Quail run beneath and fly to branches escaping from the cat. And in late fall, when the leaves are still green, like now, the mule deer nibble on its leaves.

And we are delighted because it shades our entire backyard and little cottage, and songbirds fly through to nibble on its seeds and the little bugs that must crawl around on those strong branches. It made great summer cover from the heat for the Cousin Camps with grandkids. And a favorite activity was painting the back that falls often because this trees bark doesn’t stretch, so instead breaks into plates and falls off.

fallen bark, painted
on Flickr

I cannot imagine how devastating it must feel for the people of Northumberland who lost their revered Sycamore Gap Tree. I know I my heart sank and I cried for that great loss of a heritage site.

And because of these things, we consider our giant sycamore our guardian. View an album of select images of our favorite tree in Google Photos.

Much of my art and my poetry is inspired by our tree.

And so the poem…



A giant spreads its arms
a canopy of protection
spreading across the corner lot
slowing down the wind
covering up the searing sun
a haven for hummingbird’s nest
on its smallest, dangling twig
a path for scampering squirrels
over to the power pole and back to the roof
a resting place for the migrating oriole
a bit of foliage for the mule deer
a host for the imagination
as its sun dappled leaves
sparkle with the crystalized wings
of a frolic of fairies, each dancing atop
the seed balls, ducking beneath
the immense lobed leaves,
playing hide-n-find in a tip-toe tempo
with the filtered sunshine;
this is the sycamore,
guardian of earth’s creatures.

Sheri Edwards
10.19.23 292.365.23
on Flickr


This post is part of the October WRITEOUT adventure, October 8 through the 22nd, partnership of the National Writing Project and the National Park Service — a choice to enjoy the outdoors with poetry, prose, and parks for Write Out 2023. Organized as a public invitation to get out and create, supported by a series of free online activities, Write Out invites educators, students, and families to explore national parks and other public spaces. The goal is to connect and learn through place-based writing and sharing.  Check out this infographic for the flow of the two weeks.

Learn more and sign up: https://writeout.nwp.org

This is my sixth year with WriteOut with all my WriteOut posts here.

#clmooc #smallpoems #poetry23 #writeout #favoritetree #sycamore