musing on trees

spring rains make the garden look and feel amazing. stuff is budding now in crazy ways. when calvin is feeling up to it (he's been mostly horizontal the last three days) it's nice to get outside with him among the birds and shrubs and trees. he enjoys feeling them (and sometimes tries to eat them.)

i've been musing for awhile on trees. since i was probably two or three. hiding in and among them. making forts at their feet, boats from their bark, hats with their leaves. i've always felt as if they're my friends, even naming them when i was a kid. they're often on my mind. here in maine—especially during this pandemic—they're mostly what i see. every window of this house is a frame for trees.

like us, they're strange and amazing—the way they nurture and speak with each other. survive. thrive. suffer. die. the fact they come from seeds. like us, they worship the sun, reach to the sky, look out over the sea. grace is in their twists and turns and branching fractals, not unlike our nerves, arteries, veins, capillaries. grace is in the way they age, and in their autumn brilliance and diaphanous masses of rose and chartreuse green. in their fragrant flowers of spring. in the way light moves through their transparency.

whether growing solo or in thickets at the edge of cliffs or fields, wading in marshes, or washing up naked on beaches, their magnificence is at once revealed. gorgeous, even amid decay and disease, in their falling, scorching and rotting. caked with moss and lichen, their boughs splintered and snapped off into stumps, they appear no less majestic.

burning trees become satin-black carbon. white-hot, blue and amber flames curl and crest across their bark and meat. red embers glow and pop from inside their hollows. not unlike my father's, their powdery-gray cinders feel gritty between my fingers and taste like earth. like us, trees scar and swell and break and crack and bleed. their stresses are apparent. i can relate.

gorgeous canopies shelter, cool and shade. calm our anxieties. help us to breathe. trunks and limbs rubbing against each other squeal and groan as if mortal. trees whisper as winds rush through their needles and leaves. drop your gadgets and listen. they've been sage and sanctuary for millennia, for insects, birds and mammals, and to kids who climb, like me.

pine. maple. oak. cherry. pear. magnolia. spruce. chestnut. ash. beech. dogwood. fir. apple. redbud. birch. willow.

without trees, i'm not certain who or how or where i'd be.


  1. I am home among trees- J.R.R. Tolkien Fellowship of the Ring

    1. oh my gosh. thank you for sending this. it means so much to me. who and why and where are you reading from, puppyraiser? thank you! christy

  2. I love trees! Thank you for these beautiful thoughts on trees and all that we humans have in common with them.