I came at sunrise to see it, to behold this creature that the earth did yield from the loam, from the depths of the sea of itself did it rise, impossibly constructed of its own living engines, like a bridge of rainforest ants, mandible to mandible, stretching up to grab at the starlight with its ever-growing fingers, festooned with a million green scales all fluttering, fluttering. And I watch it, phasing through the spectrum from grays to browns to golds, at once fluid, flowing, a towering billow, yet brittle, dead calm as an ice floe, and that’s when I realize that I am standing beneath a huge scale model of a molecule, of a galaxy, of a matrix of neurons, some cluster of sensory perceptions, isolated, but all related to one moment in one lifetime, a memory cloud, writ large enough to inhabit. And this thought gave me hope. That each tree is an epitaph, not a tombstone, but a humble monument, to one of us, that when we die, when our mortal coil unwinds and straightens for the grave, in that ineffable moment when what is a life blinks out like a porch light, the fibrous husk of a long-buried acorn splits, somewhere, and the probing white tip of the wormlike radicle moves, ever so slightly, the distance a single cell’s diameter, a glacial surge, just a handful of angstroms, and thus another memory oak is born.
There is, for me, no longer a ‘what if?’. It is simply an ‘is’. We are the trees. The trees are us. No metaphor this. I can feel the dead living. The terrible energy of the Taiga. The woods. The woods. The orchards of mirrors and the great libraries of souls. And when I held her in my arms and pressed my face to her elephantine hide it was a human reverberation that I felt, the joys and the tears, a powerful distillation, like a whole ocean rendered in a single drop of rain.
o O o