Quaker Peace Tree

A living witness
that we pray will outlive the occasion of war.
Planted by Friends General Conference
Gathering of Friends July 2006

On First Day
a fledgling Pacific Red Cedar
stands newly set in soil.
A trough circling its base
awaits the ceremony of spades
to complete the planting.

Worshipers tread silently
from meeting to lawn.
Some bring water, carried
from their own ponds and brooks.

Beside the tree a dove-gray pole,
painted with green leaves, white flowers—
a totem lent by its artist.

On Third Day
news of missiles—a vigil.
Poster on pole testifies,
"We envision a world in which weapons
will have no place
but in museums’ dusty shelves."

On Fourth Day
a flock of paper cranes,
diverse in size and color,
rests in the cedar’s branches.
Later, the birds have flown
but a tub of water floats
bits of straw, flecks of dust,
plastic cups for hands to dip and pour.

On Sixth Day
the tree stands solitary—
at a distance, two full-grown cedars
side by side as though watchful parents.
Plaque on commemorative stone
prays that the young tree will stand

when training planes from nearby base
no longer pass darkly overhead,
troubling the blue Northwestern sky.