before I cross the road and head toward
what I have intentionally postponed—
Let me stop to say a blessing for these woods:
for crows barking and squirrels scampering,
for trees and fungus and multi-colored leaves,
for the way sunlight laces with shadows
through each branch and leaf of tree,
for these paths that take me in,
for these paths that lead me out
(A Blessing for the Woods, Michael S. Glaser)
It's long been a fantasy of mine to not only live in a tree but to somehow build a village at the top of some mighty wood, like something out of Tolkein or Star Wars. As a child I spent hours reclining under the tall trees on the campus of Idaho State University envisioning tiny people with their tiny roads built across wide boughs and branches winding their way up to the suburban quiet on the edge of the furthest and highest of leaves.
Last Summer Duncan and I lounged in the long grass at their trunks and I lost myself gazing up at them, all those fantasies and memories rushing through my imagination again. Today we stopped for the first time since then. Duncan tends to grow restless if we stop in one place too long, ever eager to sniff and lay claim to new territory, but at the base of a tree he is content, his eyes sweeping every nook and cranny for real and imagined squirrels. I knelt down next to the thick elephant skin bark and studied the ants crawling across the gouged surface, following the lines and ridges like cars traversing the mountain and valley roadways. They are magnificent things, these trees. Following their paths is almost as good as walking, like moving without moving, flying over vast and intricate landscapes from the safety of the ground.