Three Stumps

Textures Madacor via Compfight

Dad’s death on Feb 4th will unlock many poems, I’m sure. Here’s one.

Three Stumps

Three stumps squat in the woods.
Three mossy stumps,
the last of a forest of trees
we dropped together,
my father and I,
before he fell, too,
taking a world with him
on his descent.

– Steve Peterson


PS. And, so I’ll have it here, I’m including this bit I sent to my colleagues at school so they could know him just a bit.

Dear good folks of DMS,

Thank you so much for your kind words of support and for your gift after the death of my father on Sunday evening.

I was lucky to have known him.

I wanted to tell you just a bit about him, ’cause, from his example, I believe in stories.

Dad grew up on a hardscrabble farm in north central Minnesota. He was born in the family house at the beginning of the Great Depression, though he recalled that his family never knew when the Depression started and stopped. They grew their own food and sold small amounts of corn, wheat, beef, pork, milk, and eggs for cash and grew oats and hay for the horses. There was no indoor plumbing, they hand-pumped their own water from a well and used a kerosene lamp and gas lantern for light until Dad wired the house (and barn) when he was in high school. His mother finished the 8th-grade and his father finished 6th-grade.

Dad became a Lutheran minister who served churches in Illinois for 37 years.

I learned many things from Dad, including these:
* Words are beautiful, they matter, and they can be savored;
* Even if you don’t know how to do something, start, keep your eyes open and improvise until you get it done, but most importantly: start;
* Making art, building stuff is important, even if you don’t think you are an artist or a builder;
* It’s okay for a man to listen with his heart;
* Serving others is good;
* Laughter feels good (and sometimes heals);
* Second chances are possible;
* And a whole bunch more…

Again, thanks for the kind words and support.

With high regards,

Published by

Steve Peterson

I teach fifth grade in Iowa.

One thought on “Three Stumps”

  1. He must have been a great man. We know this without having met him because we know the amazing son he produced.

    Peace to you as you sift through all your memories of him — his words, his actions, his life, his legacy.

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