A soft breeze sweeps through the old homestead site as ebb closer to the spot where the old chimney stood like a spire. In this place there always seemed to be the echoes of yesteryear and the promise of what may be coexisting. To those who are still a child at heart the forests of this world speak with a voice as true as any that was heard in classroom. I was a little bit peaked from my day’s adventure and decided that it was time for a snake. I retrieved a bottle of water and a packet of trail mix from my gear bag and surveyed the area for inspiration. As looked down the hill I leaned a bit and balanced myself by clinging to a nearby tree. “Would you kindly remove you hand from my nose!” A muffled but raspy voice demanded. My compliance with the demand was sudden indeed. The simple truth is that I rebounded from the tree so hard that fell backwards and uphill. I looked up from my position of indignantly sprawled out on my back like a misfortunate turtle to find the blue eyes glaring at me from a bark covered face. His brow was deeply furrowed and his sparsely toothed mouth was twisted into a frowning grimace. “It’s bad enough that the crows are constantly holding Congress in my branches and that I have to wait for rain to clean up the mess those starlings leave behind and now there’s a human literally in my face!” By that time I had managed to recover from the inverted turtle stance I had found myself in. “Well, speak up child! What have you got to say for yourself?” The tree continued. “Child!” I exclaimed. “I’m a full half century old!” I retorted. To which the face in the tree chuckled. “Most of my family is at least 150.” He sneered. “Great! I thought.” Thousands of acres of forests in the mountains and the tree that speaks to me is a curmudgeon.” “Look, I’m a conservation advocate. I’m a friend of the forests.” I announced. “Friends don’t go around grabbing others by the nose and swinging from it!” The tree observed. “Not that I have any friends but if I did they’d call me Walt.” The tree proclaimed. As the conversation progressed Walt’s edge softened a bit but not much. He eventually expounded on the secrets of the forests and how his brothers and sisters kept in touch through the fungi that fed his roots. About how regularly the deer pass and which paths t hey trod. About how the woodpeckers were a bigger nuisance than even the starlings. But the songbirds were okay because they kept the beetles off of him. I can’t really say that conversations with Walt are pleasant but he does seem to have a lot of knowledge to share. Perhaps when he’s in a better mood he’ll give us some interesting stories.
The only alteration that I’ve made to this tree was to add the eyes. The “face” is the work of God through nature.
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