When I was a child, some pretty unsavoury characters tide me to a tree and I, in turn, tied my brother to a tree. When I was still that child, my friends and I built a fort in an old willow, a safe place, a secret place, far from the road. One day we found the fort rebuilt, swarming with kids from another part of town. Turns out, it was everybody’s secret tree.
When I was an adolescent and a new driver with a dream of limitless potential, I was racing along a gravel road, lost control and smashed into a tree. In early adulthood I spent a long day and night leaning against a tree in the northern Ontario bush, ill, fevered and hallucinating. I have slept under trees and in them. They have fed me and I have fed them. I have pruned them, planted them, nurtured them, cut them down, de-limbed them, burned them, grafted them and last year used a fallen tree to block the bears from wintering under a long-dormant shed. Constant, indifferent, patient, available, they frame my living and witness my becoming, not as silent observers but as benevolent participants.
Today, the storytellers stand outside my window ripe with blossoms.