Excerpts from Walking With Trees (the book)
Copyright © 2008 by P.R. Lowe
Mid morning in late October, I find myself at the pine thicket,
inundated with the sensuous. I pause under a lone tree, that still
drips with morning dew, and I revel in the enchantment. The day
has a golden aura about it, but is overcast with a drizzling fog.
October is wickedly lovely. She deceives with her beauty, for under
her cloak of rainbows, she clutches winter.
The smells of autumn attach themselves to memory like the
damp to the leaves. Scents seep out from every molecule of every
entity and pervade the senses with motifs from earlier days; clear
sparkling days of childhood, leaf piles and apples, pumpkins and
spice, jackets and sweaters still musty from storage, anticipation of
time out of school, spooks and turkeys and Christmas trees — and
always a dog near by, grinning with such satisfaction at the utter
thrill of it all, that his face seems its own goofy jack o lantern; I
always smiled back. I knew the eternal, but somehow forgot.
In these golden days of autumn the dogs refuse to come
inside, milking the day of its kindness. The cats glue themselves
to windowpanes to watch the gathering sparrows that are pre-
hungry from the hint of winter and the fading foliage. And I am
drawn to feed them, to exit out of my cocoon of comfort, to place
an offering, to make amends for something I (or we) have done
amiss. This place makes me feel accountable for all, and especially
for myself. At last promises are implemented.
I bring sustenance to hungry birds, a small thing in the
supposed unfairness of the world one sees and hears on the news.
Where does responsibility begin and end? Who chooses?
On the news there is anger and distress because men want to
marry men; it is deemed immoral. But here, it is hunting season.
One individual takes down twenty deer, fawns and does alike; he
has two freezers full from years before and is stout from too much
food already. This is not on the news; and he is upset because men
want to marry men. Where does morality begin? Who decides?
A distant mountain is stripped of its trees, with little forethought
of long-lasting repercussions. The diminishing landscape diminishes
everything, even us. The rain forest disappears a little each day,
barely noticeable in the beleaguered argument of who should
marry whom. Who decides what stays and what goes, what is of
value and what is not?
I glance up toward the mountains that undress themselves
before me; not stifled by fear or greed. For just an instant I am
in the breath of constant creation that surrounds me and I know
this place responds to me. It is a living, breathing organism and I
am part of it; like one of its tiny cells, enveloped in it and I respond
to it. No matter how small the act, the ripple is set in motion. A
cleansing is at hand. “Let the planet out of your clutches, it will
escape your grip. The harder you hold on, the quicker it will rise
up and move away.”
Rain has meandered its way into the hollow and I begin the trek
back to the house. I pause at the pine thicket to admire a spider’s
web; its tiny silk threads, perfectly and knowingly geometric, hung
with beads of water like pearl necklaces. Spiders have not read the
books or been to school and yet they know.
If one finds an answer one realizes that it is in one’s own special vernacular. The oak does not wear a sign saying, ‘I am the oak’. The oak does not become, by decree or declaration, but by being, that which it is, from moment to incredible moment, true to the teacher that does not exclaim, ‘I am the teacher’.”