I’m sitting on the cabin deck praising the restorative powers of caffeine and communing with the morning sun, wrapped by the sanctuary of the surrounding forest.
The wood of the deck is hot as it captures the outpourings from the sun during these morning hours and holds them there until night. These gifts from the star that gives us our day are held for safe keeping, to be given in turn to the night sky when the moon and stars reign.
The deck expands in distinctive “pops” every few minutes as timbers flex and stretch and reshape themselves as best they can, restrained by screws and nails and other timbers. The densely packed matrix of lignin and cellulose bakes in the sun whilst the remaining moisture is driven from deep within, becoming an invisible vapor that transmutes the air into the breath of trees.
The “pops” may also signal the opening or deepening of a crack that will soon be explored by ants and spiders or into which a dusting of pollen will float; or the sudden end to a tug-of-war between a timber and the nail that has held it in place these many years, as the wood liberates its impaler, the wetness cooked away while the wood swells with heat. “Out, damned nail. Out, I say.”
And herein lies the rub (speaking of the Bard of Avon). How to walk on and live within the bones of trees, whilst loving the living thing from whence they came.
Me thinks it is a matter of balance.
I will plant another 10 trees near the cabin this fall, as I have for the past many years (with the support and aide of my buddy in all things trees). And I will care for them, feeding them and watering them during the hot, dry summers; propping them up with stakes should they need them, and uncovering them when they are laden with heavy snow that threatens to break them.
But most importantly, I will live amongst them as we all grow older together.