Where Words Come From

Where Words Come From

Somewhere between the breath
and pause, then running full-tilt
across the field it hit me,
this childwhere words come from
alive, seizing every nugget
life would offer,
beside and up the grand old tree
swinging without fear
then sitting silent
until the two were one
in dappled fading light,

until dinner called
and in she came, the dirt of day
of life
in perfect ringlets round her legs and feet.


People have been asking me about the setting of this poem and this grand old tree. The place is called Woolman Hill Retreat and Conference Center, located in Deerfield, MA. The Quaker retreat program that holds weekend retreats there during the year is called JYM Elementary Retreats. (I’m pleased to say that I began this program in 1988 and ran it for 26 years before retiring, then continued staffing, in 2013.

Text and image by Kevin Lee

Author: Kevin Lee

In a nutshell, Kevin fesses up to the following: He's a retired youth advocate-counselor, a blogger, writer, photographer, rower, Friends Minister, grandpa of six and married to a terrific woman for 43 years and counting!

2 thoughts on “Where Words Come From”

  1. Thank you for your sharing about “Spirit Trees.” I, too, am drawn especially to trees.

    Early December 2015, after a particularly difficult time, a dear friend shared with me the poem about trees by Mary Oliver. Please discover her beautiful words. I hold kindly to the last two or three lines which speak the trees’ words .. “Go easy. Be filled with light. Shine.” Something like these words, perhaps, not exactly, but all Mary Oliver. I believe you will find this poem especially dear.

    1. Hello Mary, thank you for your comments regarding Spirit Trees. I am indeed familiar with Mary Oliver’s amazing work as well. She’s been a real treasure in so many ways. I have several of Oliver’s books, so hopefully I’ll find the one you mentioned. Now that you mention it, Oliver actually mentions trees and plant life quite a lot in her writing….and no surprise to most of us either!

      My best,

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