Say I had started life to be, instead of self, a white oak tree, with earth for anchor, sky for reach, and rings of history for speech: Would birds discover with a cry sure homesteads there? Philosophy hatch in my shade? Would passers-by stand, tranced by years, respectfully? If retrospective choice could breach genetic codes and set awry time's passages (and how I'd try to make existence justify myself in this!) I'd like to be a venerable white oak tree.