Thursday, June 06, 2013
Works On Paper
I wonder how long ago it was that the birch tree's shedding of its papery bark first caught our eyes. We must've been kids, right? Kids born before the takeover of the electronic glow. Kids still able to study the tiny, fierce industry of an ant colony for long minutes, or to get our shoes mucked up in a creek bed. The flaking birch was like the weeping willow with its chandelier branches: special-tricks trees. Memorable trees, recognizable at a distance, like the sassafras with its friendly hand-shaped leaves. There was a small delight that came with being able to know and name them, even though most everyone else could do it, too.
A few years back, my friend Sarah took me to her summer house in the woods. We traipsed amid trees she'd known since childhood, and she showed me a new great thing: big, solid chunks of tree fungus that you can snap off and draw pictures on with twigs. She'd been doing it since childhood, I think.
It had been so long since I'd learned anything like that. So long.