I am fully aware that I am prone to hyperbole but I must tell you that this tree right here—she’s my favorite tree of all time. In the entire universe of any tree I’ve ever seen, she is the tree that takes my breath away most. She is the tree that leaves me feeling weak in the knees.
Look at her.
She lives in the middle of a field off Highway 128 and I see her every time we drive up north on the 101, toward the Mendocino coast. I anticipate seeing her for miles. I sometimes wonder if maybe one time she won’t be there. Like, she’ll have packed her steamer trunk and boarded a ship bound for glorious.
I know I sound insane. But you haven’t seen this tree.
The ironic thing is that I can’t get near her. She is, like I said, the sole giant Oak in the middle of a large patch of marshy grass that is surrounded by a fence that is unscalable so even though I have taken ten thousand portraits of her and waved to her and discussed her beauty with my family—she is, on some level, forever aloof.
I’ve taken so many photos of her and never shared them. Because I am mentally unstable when it comes to love affairs with trees and I was hesitant to show her to anyone because there is NO WAY to capture her magnificence and stature and beauty and radiance and old woman wisdom without falling short. But today I got this shot that comes within fifty five galaxies of capturing her grandeur and I decided fuck it, the time has come. The world has got to meet Doris.
Hot Damn She’s a Beaute,
The Starry Eyed Staring One
Temescul State Park, CA, 2013.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that there are certain trees I’ve known since the beginning of time. Since I’ve hiked a certain canyon back when I was alone or coupled or alone or single or alone or afraid or brave or out of shape or in shape. I tend to find places that make me feel invisible and seen at the same time. I tend to hike alone and I tend to hike happy.
The Big Bad Gorgeous Dame here has been my friend for a million years. She is at the end of the straight UP-straight DOWN trail at Temescul and every time I see her I think she’d love to sit down with me, have a cup of Earl Grey and then have me tell her what is happening at the top of the mountain.
Instead I walk past her and I wave and I tell her that she is just about as glorious as glorious gets and she, for her part, holds her majestic ground there, like a Ziegfeld Follie and spreads her arms out as wide as the eye can see.
I think trees make the best greeters, don’t you?
Your Biggest Fan,
Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, California.
Every time I go to Joshua Tree I take time to visit this stalwart duo. The little number on the left has always fascinated me, the way she stands there with her gams all a-twisty. And then him: the big bald guy on the right. What in the hell must have happened to bring them together forever? I’m convinced their true identities are Fred and Ethel Mertz because when I stand near them and it’s early in the morning just as the desert is waking up— I swear hear them bickering.
I think trees mate for life, don’t you?
Here’s To True Barky Love,
Ernie the Enamored Eavesdropper
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, October 2012.
We came across this rhythm and blues group as we were descending down a 12,000 foot mountain and we pulled over and stopped to converse and commune and applaud them.
You think I’m making this up but I’m not.
This group of Pines had a presence that most people will never see in board meetings. And they smelled MIGHTY, like how FRESH GOOD IDEAS would smell.
And we sat for quite some time and conversed with them. At least I did. And I felt very grateful that I recognized them as holy because they told me how cute I was and they commented on my little triangle: Me, The Mister and The Hound and they said “You have a lovely working tribe there and you shouldn’t worry so much about your complete lack of guidance because—You and Him—you got it goin’ on and the fact that you’re both foraging for bright, shining goodness is the thing that will keep you free from lostness, free from harm, free from never finding the place where you are 100% you.”
I think trees have a certain sense of large, loving wisdom that’s hard to find anywhere else, don’t you?
Professor Pine With the Profusely Verbal Branches
Lyons, Colorado, 2012. The Cupcakes’ Big Badass Colorado-Utah Road Trip.
You know, I do my best to prepare for the golden, violet, crimson, 12 story, oddly bright pink, handstand looking, bushy, huge, never-ending, kind, wise, SUN BURST YELLOW, Sistine Chapel hues, dormant-white, HUGE IN THEIR GIRTH, giver of all life, as far as the eye can see limbs and trunks and trees that I am like a noodle in love with—COMPLETELY MADLY HOPELESSLY IN AWE OF—and I gird heart and I armor my gut but NOTHING EVER FULLY PREPARES ME FOR THE GENTLE PRECIOUS MATERNAL LOVE the trees project and exude and give off with their special way of saying “You may have never ever had a mother who loved you as beautifully as you deserved but we are here and we are growing forever and we think you’re the most wonderfully fine specimen we ever saw this afternoon.”
I think trees are especially kind, don’t you?
Oh SMOOCH on SMOOCH on SMOOCH on You!