The dead tree in our path
On a trail I walk there is an old tree that has given up life but stands rooted stolidly in the ground.
The trunk is thick and black. The seasons have embalmed it. The wood is so hard that the bark won’t break off in your hands.
The boys pick up stray scraps that have been yanked off in the wind and use them as swords. They parry each other. Then they grasp thick boughs with two hands and hammer the trunk of the tree. The strokes land in dull thuds. Their bodies shake with the effort. The tree is unmoved.
This tree stands in the middle of the path. To keep on, you have to walk either to the right or left. When you are under the tree, you can look up through the leafless branches straight to the sky. For a moment you are captured beneath a flurry of ink strokes.
Walk on and the canopy of the woods covers you again. This is disorienting. It is like walking back into life, knowing that something special is being left behind.