The Walnut Tree

I planted a walnut tree in the desert

hoping it would flourish.

I gave it all my attention.

Tending to it

day and night.

I asked what it needed

to thrive.

While roasting

under the scorching sun.

It stood in silence.

No matter how much I watered it

its branches stayed frail.

Only producing a few wilted leaves

and no fruit.


Its stunted growth told me

I was asking the wrong question.

No amount of effort

can make a walnut mighty

in the desert.

No amount of effort

will turn down the sun,

entice the rain,

or warm the black heart

of the desert night.


I knew the right question.

The hard question.

Was I willing to uproot it

from the bone-dry earth.

Leaving a gaping hole

like a lost tooth.

Transplant it to the forest,

where it’s root system would grow strong

naturally interlocking

in a harmonious

give and take.

The ecosystem effortlessly providing

the walnut

exactly what it needs.

It’s branches growing thick

and heavy with nuts.

It’s seeds taking root,

multiplying.


Was I willing to take it

from what it knew

so it could become

what it was meant to be?

The fullest version of itself.