The forest calls me in. To a place where I can meet the trees. Face to face.
One tree calls to me. Then another I walk up to it. Close. The tree’s craggy and weathered protective skin, its bark, is full of canyons and crevasses. Like a topographic map of some wooded landscape.
The bark’s texture is like a fingerprint defining the tree’s identity. Its existence.
I relate to the trees as equals in human scale. I run my fingers over where its face could be, to get another sense of its identity. Each tree is like a universe unto itself. A different kind of universe than the one we think of at first. Not a spacey one, but an earthy Universe just the same.
From the Ponderosa Pines in the Sierras, to the California coastal Redwoods and those unnative disruptors, the Eucalyptus, to the White Pines along the trails in Pennsylvania, trees stand over us everywhere.
Their bark shows their age and the life they have lived so far. Damp and humid gross beards of lichen. Fires burn the bark to a black crust. The sun dries them out and helps them to stand tall.
As humans, we walk among them, often taking them for granted. Others we touch repeatedly, until they shine with the bits of us that we leave behind.