Next to the path stood grandfather pine. His roots formed small stairs, each one curled like an arm around a pocket of flat-packed earth. I looked up at his towering body as I stepped down his staircase.
I wondered: What does he know of the tiny humans scuttling around at his feet, so frenetic, from his point of view, running by in bright colors, talking loudly and laughing? No answer, of course, except for branches barely moving in the breeze.
As I sat on the bench, not far from the pine, I noticed other bigger trees whose trunks were far apart but whose green tops almost touched against the washed-out blue sky.
The tree directly in front of me was small and deciduous, so it still lacked leaves for the season. On its trunk, someone had carved, “2012 T + A.” What scars trees bear silently. What things they see and don’t remark on.
When it was time to move on, I got up and gingerly touched the scarred tree’s skin, careful not to touch its wound. Then I wrapped my hands around it and tried to shake it. But it didn’t budge. Its smallest branches jostled in the wind.
I went back to it, having walked a few feet down the path. This time I tried harder to move it. Bolder, I stuck my finger in its deepest scar, almost finger-sized. When I tried to move the trunk again, I thought it budged. But it was just the tree’s upper trunk swaying in a gust of wind.