When I was a child I had a favorite tree I would spend time with when I needed someone to talk to. I would trudge across the field in front of our house and into the woods beyond where a large and very old white pine stood waiting. If I pressed my ear against its rough bark and held it close, I could hear the wind whistling through it, telling me its secrets. Then, I would tell it a secret or two of my own.
Shortly after I moved here, two summers ago, I felt drawn to one particular Norway among many in the back yard. It seemed to be beckoning to me, and so I walked over to it, held it close, and told it how happy I was to be here. That winter, nine deer came regularly to browse beneath it. Quite often three or four would stay to bed down as night fell, then leave at first light.
These trees that surround my house make me feel loved and protected. I am honored to live among them, to be in their presence. They still tell me secrets. Sometimes, I tell them mine.
When you write late at night
it's like a small fire
in a clearing, it's what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It's why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,
the one who'll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.
~ Stephen Dunn, from, "A Secret Life"
The photographs are mine.