Life’s Impressions from a Tree

A Talking Tree by Laura Thomas

Come along with me, let’s go on an adventure, out into the woods where we will find a talking tree. Now I bet you didn’t know trees could talk, or that I know where one is. Interested in coming along? Ok, let’s go.

We will need to drive by car to our destination; no it won’t take long and be sure to dress warm. The ground is covered in white and the temperature is only about 30 degrees: make sure you have your hat and gloves. Do you have everything? Good. Now grab your backpacks, for one never knows what will happen, so better to be prepared. We are here; our destination is up and over the hill, so ready to hike? Let’s go!

 I want you to walk as quietly as you can, why? Well, we may be able to see an animal, but better yet, I want you to listen. Take a deep breath; what do you smell? Nothing. Try again.  Oh, there you go. Now, tell me what do you smell? Yes, the tart smell of the pine trees, the dampness of the cold air. Now tell me, what do you hear? A soft wind that brushes the tree branches together.  Oh, there goes a bird, and yes, I believe it was a flicker.

Walking further along, we need to climb up this hill.  Look what’s in the snow. Tracks, and I believe they are wolf. Look at the size of the prints and the stride.  Oh man, they are the size of my hand, so that is a big animal! There are also deer, coyote and fox tracks that we can see. With the snow on the ground evidence is left behind that tells us what animals have used the trail.

Look, there is our tree. See it? It’s a huge tree that I can’t wrap my arms around it. Maybe two of us could, but I’m not sure. It’s a tall, stately old tree, and look at the size of the branches.  They are almost as big around as I am.  Now look up to the most unique feature; it looks like an octopus. While most trees only have one trunk with branches, this tree has multiple trunks at the top. These trunks branch off from the main trunk that is missing, at odd, twisted angles.

Come and sit at the trunk of this tree and listen.  This tree is telling us a story–one of long cold winters, ravaged by snow and winds, and hot summers where water was hard to get. The years it has seen come and go. A story of survival.  But most of all, the joys this tree has seen–the birds that call this tree home and raise their young in its protective branches, along with the squirrels that have inhabited it, eating the nuts from the pinecones it grows. This tree has also witnessed the baby deer born and all the wild things that live in these woods.

It is drawing late in the day and we must return to the car. We say good-by to the tree, but we will come back to visit our talking tree.

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