She told me she’d been tumbling in the breeze.
Sleeping in the park those nights, I was bound to freeze.
So I caved, I let her pull me to the side.
She lit another cigarette, we got into her ride.
Staring through her sunroof to the starry sky,
She asked “Do you believe in God? Do you think there’s another life?”
Before I could spit an answer, she started talking,
“Hey, have you ever heard of EarthBone Crossing?”
She looked a bit confused, or amused, when I said I hadn’t yet.
She said “The first time I had one of these…” showing off her cigarette,
“I had snuck away into the woods to sneak a smoke.
I stumbled across old EarthBone Crossing, and sat up under a creaking oak.
I was pretty young, and at that moment, I thought I was so cool.
I decided to make it last forever, pulled out my Grampa’s little carving tool,
Hard as I could, with my tiny hand, I carved my name into that tree.
And I’ll tell you, but I know you won’t believe… That tree reached down, and scratched its own name back into me.”
So of course, I started getting out of the car.
She laughed “Wait a second man, this is the crazy part.”
I was annoyed, just figured she was lying.
But then, I stopped and looked into her glossy eyes.
“I’m sorry. Please, keep going. What exactly is EarthBone Crossing?”
“It’s a place where Mother Nature does the talking.
And it’s our job, we little folks, to listen. But hold up with the questions, I’ll get to all that in a minute.
So look, this old oak tree had me pinned against the ground.
I don’t know what was worse, the taste of dirt, or the awful sound.”
“The sound?” I asked,
She yelled “You bet your ass!
I could hear it all, this wild vibration creeping up my spine with this warm sensation,
And this guilt for what I guess I must have done.”
“Weren’t you just having fun?”
“Well I thought so too, but I took it too far
When I scratched those letters into that bark.”
I laughed, “People do that all the time!”
“Yes, they do, but does that make it right?”
Her voice was cold.
I said “I gotta go.”
She whispered “Not until you feel what I felt that day.
This meeting was for a reason. I need you to stay.”
So I did. “What happened next?”
“Well, for a second I thought I died, but I knew that couldn’t be right.
‘Cuz I could feel my cig’ burning a hole into my side.
Boy, I screamed and I hollered, I had to bite my tongue and swallow spit.
‘Cuz it felt just like the Devil blew me a white-hot kiss.
I hopped up and stomped my foot in the dirt, and screamed so hard it hurt;
“You stupid tree, I’ma cut you down! Just wait til Grampa’s back in town,
I’ll have him fix you good, we gonna turn you into firewoo-“.
Her head went back, she took a breath, and ashed on the dashboard.
She told me “I know this wasn’t what you asked for…
But it’s the truth.
The ground around me burst into winding roots.
They snatched me by my ankles, pulled me back down to the dust
Then all across old EarthBone Crossing, there was a supernatural hush…
The old oak tree, its trunk began to glow this funky green.
The light was just too much, I couldn’t see.
But I could hear, and in my ear, a woman’s stiffening whisper…”
“Tell your Grampa that I still miss him. And I wish he would visit.
We were each other’s first love…So long ago, when this was Earthbone Grove…
But there’s one little thing we need you to really understand;
Pain is not a secret thing, known only to man.
Emotion and its depths are universal.
That’s why, this time, for once… I had to hurt you.
Baby, I’m not angry with you. I just want you to think about the things you do.
So now, we share this mark. Your own name, scratched into my bark.
The Verdant Soul, now flourishes within your heart.
And Baby, I know you won’t forget
What you saw at EarthBone Crossing, when you snuck away for a cigarette.”