In the forest 12/2021
As I walk I keep looking at the ground
to find something very small, very special.
Maybe a rock or a seed or a bone.
Above, if you strain your neck you see
the trees make shapes against a gray sky.
Branches are drawing their structure in lines overhead.
I imagine each branch.
Who visits there? A squirrel, a bird?
Branches break off from a wind or a heavy snow
or just: the tree is growing old.
Here you walk between trees.
The ground is soft yet braced by breaking sticks from last year
and the year before
and so on.
How far down do the roots go?
It is rare to go up to a tree and touch it.
It’s always too rough, too hard, very cold.
No one is there, just the tree.
Do you know how heavy the tree is?
You see many trees through windows
and you do not imagine what the bark feels like,
how many rings does it have,
how does it feed itself?
Here you know each tree you have seen over many years
looking the same each time but eventually looking different later.
You think “Remember when this tree was younger and there was that vine?”
You cannot count the number of animals in the forest.
There are deer and rabbits, and sometimes a turtle.
Foxes, opossums, and bears come and go at night
though you would hardly know it.
They are weaving through the trees and foliage using their noses
and leaving tracks if there is snow.
Where are their homes?
Large birds circle for something small on the ground.
They perch almost out of sight, but never stay.
Where you have looked many times seems the same
until one day you notice a dried clump
and say “Oh is that a nest?”
I have found a leaf, and another leaf, and a stick.
You cannot build a tree
The tree builds you.
I took some picture of my work in my studio: Bird on Workbench. The studio has windows on the south and east so the light is reliable and very nice. I am not painting in it yet, as it is part of a larger project and still getting work done on it.