I miss my White Pine sentinels; they surrounded our Maine home on three sides, and I always felt protected.
Sara Maitland said “pine woods have a strange habit of wandering” (From the Forest). In less dramatic fashion than the Ents of Tolkien lore, granted, yet they do wander. I love this perspective of how pine forests move even if the individual trees don’t necessarily pick up roots and move over to the next ridge. It’s a bit of fascinating observation and can give rise to all sort sod fantastical stories of how boundaries and landscape change face across time, where once the line was here but now it is there; one at first blames the memory, perhaps I don’t recall my childhood experience as well as I thought because visiting to woods sixty years later, the slope appears different — but it is!
One can almost imagine in the cover of night, a pine wriggling its toes free of the soil and a long root, then another, reaching over, slowly, ever so subtle, creeping like a vine, sinuous as a snake, and then tugging as it digs in once more shifting its tall trunk in that direction, nearly imperceptible because it doesn’t want to topple. Shifting itself away from the group.
The fantasy is actually easier for me to imagine than the practical science of how “they re-grow as new individual trees from seed and tend not to do this under their own canopy, but to the sides of existing stands.”
Maybe this is another subtle reason I am aligned with pines (though, fyi, in this instance the author is speaking of Scots pines) — I didn’t grow under the “canopy” of my family of origin but rather to the side. I really love this new conceptualization of my beloved pines, evergreen and raining positivity upon me continually. The author calls this wandering “spooky” but I find the entire notion utterly delightful and encouraging to the growth of diversity away from the familiar. For instance, my younger brother is definitely deciduous, growing from our mother-base; my older brother doing his own thing from a trimmed height where he branched out but still firmly connected to the original trunk … but me … I’m a seed cast to grow beyond the canopy.
I’ve been waiting my entire life to be in the forest and free;
cycles are age, yet less age than individuality.
One never knows where and when shift may happen.