A Ginkgo at Thanksgiving

On this day of gratitude, Thanksgiving 2019, I am thankful for Ginkgo tree people who stand true through this world’s injustices to bring beauty and hope.  

The Ginkgo tree is considered a “living fossil,” unchanged in two million years. Ginkgo trees are survivors. A-bombed ginkgo trees (sometimes called Maidenhair trees) still grow in Hiroshima. I am thankful for Ginkgo tree people who stand true through this world’s injustices to bring beauty and hope.


She lulled me
onto her honeyed dance floor
butterfly fans swirling
sun-kissed before twirling
                          down
                                    down
to brighten autumn’s browning ground

“How many Thanksgiving dawnings
have you goldened? I asked
the wrinkled keeper of
ancestral driftings
                        skitterings
                                  plummetings
yellowed leaves history-haunted

Wizened Maidenhair, friend of dinosaurs
Hiroshima’s great-grandmother and
neighbor to rush-hour suburbanites,
I marvel to witness your spectacular falling
                                                                  relinquishing
                                                                             surrendering
entrusting your harvest to cemetery sidewalks

She invited me to her ritual of
remembrance and return
each leaf giving its journey to the next
spring greening
                    resurrecting
                               new-birthing
I said “yes” and abandoned myself to her dance

Ginkgo at Home Moravian, God’s Acre.


Author: Jill Crainshaw

I am a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and an ordained PCUSA minister.