I’m sitting here this morning looking out the large picture window in my office and totally crushing on the view. The sky is a pale, pale blue speckled with wispy clouds, but for once it isn’t the sky that’s caught my attention; it’s the trees.
The trees are on fire. Not literally, but so close as to be almost true. Leaves in deep oranges, rich yellows, and brilliant reds are all vying for attention as they stretch up towards the sky on branches swaying with the wind. It gives the illusion of flames, that constant flickering and swaying of colour.
In the midst of it all is a lone pine, old man of the forest. Taller again by half than any other tree around, the monstrous pine towers over everything around it, even the houses. It is easily a hundred feet tall and maybe even two, it’s trunk so solid that it barely sways in the same winds that are making the younger trees rock from side to side.
He isn’t pretty in the conventional sense, this old pine. In fact, he isn’t pretty at all. He isn’t very symmetrical, nor dense, nor is he a gorgeous shade of green, and any honest description of him would probably have to include the word ‘ugly.’ But… he has character. Oodles and oodles of character.
The ends of his branches, held far from his core, wave up and down with each gust of wind. It gives him the impression of fidgeting, the body held still while the fingers and toes tap-tap-tap restlessly. Or perhaps he is merely a tree performing an impression of the ocean, with endless waves of movement within a surface that gives the illusion of being a solid whole.
A neighbour walks by on his way to work, a laptop bag slung over his shoulder, his head down and his shoulders hunched against the chill wind, and it is only as he passes by the old pine tree that you truly get a sense of the scale of the thing — much, much larger than any human being could ever hope to be.
He fascinates me, this tree, tall and straight, wreathed in a dark greyish green and surrounded by youngsters dancing about in bright plumage of gold and rust and crimson. The youngsters sway and bend in time with the wind, but the old man of the forest, he dances to his own music, fractal in nature and endlessly fascinating.
Who would have thought it was possible to have a crush on a tree?