Within The Tree

29 August 2015

86.3.23

Behind the right shoulder a man approached. He looked pleasant and at ease, which made me at ease. I cannot tell you who he was but that he was familiar to me and so I did not think to think, who is this? I simply was at ease and that he was someone that I knew. He was eating a fig. It was fresh and green. He had a few of them in his hand and offered them to me. While eating he turned to the tree behind him and the canopy was far over our heads. High above our heads could be seen the figs in the leaves and our eyes were taken up through the branches and great limbs. Vines descended like ropes and leaves of ivy grew in bunches along their length. Sunlight streamed through to them and lit them up when the breeze freshened the leaves the canopy. The limbs intersected and overlapped each other like staircases intertwined and continued higher and on high to at least three hundred feet. How good it must be to be the happy leaves at the top lit up so brightly and so broad and favored by God. So happy to have been one of them.

It was a large tree like an oak tree its trunk ten feet across. He had carved a room in it. Where he could stand inside with the warm light of a gas lantern on the wall behind him lighting up the colored bottles and he could give people drinks. The grain of the wood inside the room was worn smooth and looked like those coffee tables made from sections cut of cypress trees. The grain of the wood was varnished and smooth. The color of amber. There was a cross on the wall behind him.

“Where are we?” I asked the man.

“Florida,” he said.

“It’s quite temperate,” I said. “I thought it would be unpleasantly hot this time of year.” I could live here, I thought. “But how can this tree live with so much of its insides removed?”

“This is my tree,” he said.

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