Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thoughts of Trees

Trees, I hear them daily on my walks, and think how trite to think these thoughts, the conversation and the wisdom of trees. Why trite, it seems such a simple thought. Like almost all thoughts, certainly it has been thought by others walking in the forest for as long as forests and man have been on the surface of this planet together...Trees and forests, time, and the wisdom that comes from watching and experience.

I think Tolkien said it best in his characters the Ents and their Entwives. There it was; the nature of time, of man, of woman, of order, of chaos, of old growth and mold, and rugged, and spring, and happy gardens, all in these characters he had conjured up. My mother told me of these books when I was little. I remember when they were first released in the United States. I would have ordered a copy months before. We would have been at the bookstore five times or more getting books for her, and always the Tolkien volume would not be there. Not yet, and then, I would have the book in hand and I would rush home and devour it. As fast as I could, in bed and reading until it was finished and I was awed, and frightened, and unhappy I would need to now wait for the next one. So, I think of trees, and this is only a fraction of what they mean to me.

My mother, she is dead now. I hear her voices in the trees when I go on my walks through my forest that was her forest. She probably had thoughts just the same or similar. I think of her as I listen to the trees, the crack of their sap freezing in the winter and rising in the spring, their structured complaints as they bend and tug at their roots. I think as I walk through the forest, at night, in cold, in wind, with snow whirling in great white sweeps. I hear the trees and think of man, and then I try to conjure up the difference between the man of the present, the man so angry, the man of Washington, so greedy and confused. Then I think of man imagined, man of fairy tales, and forests, man of wizards, demons and ghostly goblins, bright queens and princely poets. Then, I retreat from the horrible present man. I look forward. I look back. I wonder, will we make it as a species and I don't think so? I think the trees will be shouting and they will whisper long after man has screwed it up so badly that he is gone. Then I think good riddance.

But, with this observation comes a form of wisdom. Perhaps not, perhaps. The same stumbling, shoddy mess that makes up man will improve. I doubt it, but perhaps. And, we can only hope that this is the case because it is Christmastime. The snows are blowing round me now in clustered flakes, and they are talking too. I am drifting off. Is this what happens when you freeze to death? I do not know, but it is not unpleasant, so, so be it.

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