A restless time, these middling weeks in February, night dreams of bloodroot, trout lilies and columbines, sunlight falling greenly through the trees and songbirds in the canopy. In my sleep, I wander the fully leafed out understory, follow clouds across the western field, harken to bullfrogs in the beaver pond and bees in the wild apple trees by the fence.
I measure returning sunlight and shadows in the landscape, watch snowdrifts receding from trails through the woods, leaving puffs of snow like cotton wool and a fine lacy fretwork behind as they go. I listen for owls, for the sound of maple sap dripping sotto voce down tree trunks. What a long dark winter it has been. Oh verdant springtime come softly, and please come soon.
Recently we took a trip to see a small forest of ancient live oak trees. One of the trees is 1000 years old and others are not far behind in age. These trees were saplings at the time of the Crusades and during the lives of Thomas Becket and Richard the Lionhearted. They preceded the construction of the tower of Pisa and are leaning no more than it. It’s amazing how much can happen during the lifetime of a tree.
A single one of these trees releases enough oxygen into the atmosphere to support two of us humans a year. Imagine two thousand people who owe their lives to each of these trees! As I tried to capture the hugeness of their sprawl with my camera, I was glad that I was one of those privileged to share their air and walk in their shade. It was good to be among elders.