There are certain trees that I’ve come to know in the woods where I walk. Live ones and dead ones. And now I understand that they know me too. Just as the crow, who sits on the electrical wire that runs past our house, can recognize my face, the woods where I walk know me. In the way that woods know.
There’s one tree that I’ve written about before. Its trunk is formed in a way that at its base is a pool of water. And because I’ve seen now, in all the seasons, I know that the water is always there. It doesn’t drain or evaporate. In the winter it freezes and when the streams are low and dry at the end of summer the water is still there.
Today I squatted at the base of that tree. I looked into the small dark pool of water. The husk of a seed pod floated on the surface. When I first saw the pool, almost a year ago, I believed it must be stagnant, filled with mosquito larvae and things rotting. I was fascinated by it, but wasn’t drawn to touch it.
But today, I dipped my fingers in the water. And I found myself touching my dripping fingers to my forehead and heart, as if I had dipped them in holy water.
Then, my hands and head to the tree I listened. I saw a pool of dark water, like the one the tree held, inside myself. It sat at the base of my belly, still and dark and constant. So I dipped my fingers in the pool of water again. This time I sucked the drops off my finger tips, adding the trees water to my own.
I don’t know why that tree holds water like it does. I’ve never seen anything like it before. But it feels very special to me, even sacred. I can only imagine the tree is tapping into a water source deep in the ground. Reaching down into the earth, and up to the sky at the same time. And all of it coming together, to be shared with whoever is willing, in the small dark pool of water.