Last week I was weeding my garden on a steambath afternoon when clouds tiered overhead, the air turned greenish, and a breeze sprang up. There’s a tall pine tree in my tiny front yard, with limbs that sweep down to earth, and when the first drops splatted down, I stepped inside them to watch the storm.
As a child I built a platform in the giant maple tree by the side of the road, accessible by a rope no one but me could climb. I used to stay up there for hours, reading and thinking in the crook of the tree. At one point I carved my initials into the biggest limb – A R M. Over time, a decade or two, the tree puffed itself around the wound and healed itself.
Trees talk to one another through their roots. Trees of the same species will share water and food. All trees in a forest are interconnected. They shelter one another, the way the tree in my front yard shelters me.
The Copper Beech, by Marie Howe
Immense, entirely itself,
it wore that yard like a dress,
with limbs low enough for me to enter it
and climb the crooked ladder to where
I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone.
One day, I heard the sound before I saw it, rain fell
darkening the sidewalk.
Sitting close to the center, not very high in the branches,
I heard it hitting the high leaves, and I was happy,
watching it happen without it happening to me.
For more information about Marie Howe, please check out her website.