Miles to Go Before We Sleep

(Photo: William Rivers Pitt)(Photo: William Rivers Pitt)

I took my daughter for a long walk under the low November sun, and it turned into an adventure. We are hedged by deep forest to all points on the compass here in the great granite north, home to deer runs that spider-web the fallen pine needles, ghostly moose like towering mystics in the far field, a family of porcupines, one cat-eating coyote and the occasional ominous bear. Serious stuff. Before our walk, my daughter was content to contend with the lawn that greens the verge of the dark and deep, but Daddy was with her this day, and that meant pressing the edge.

Over the ancient stone wall we went, into the thicket of pines where she learned to snap off the dead branches lest they claw at her eyes, then deeper, over the moss and the deadfalls laid down by a windstorm and further, into the places where the sun only hints at a kiss, her plowing forward and me always aware of the surround, where true north is, the way back to the house.

She found her favorite place in that secret space: Bifurcated trees. Trees with two, three, four, five full trunks growing up and out of one base like a splayed hand, like a crown. She would find one and crawl into the base, the hollow where all the fingers reached up and out toward the sky. She stood there timeless, three feet of eternity conducting the energy passing through her, speechless, rigid in bliss. She was in the palm of a living thing, and if she didn’t know it, the tree did. I felt it, too. I watched a tree sing to my daughter as she stood in its elder grasp, and she heard it full well.

I am thankful for that.

Thankfulness is a hard dollar to make these days. He Who Shall Not Be Named Here Today hasn’t yet taken the oath of office, and already the deep stain of his impending presidency marks us all. It is difficult to locate gratitude in this vortex of shame, confusion, hate and greed, but this is an orderly transition of power, right? He won, everyone else lost, and never mind the shenanigans from…

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