Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 94
I looked out over the forest that I have looked out over everyday for three months. But I saw it with new eyes. The rain drops ran down my face, dripped into my eyes, blurring my view. I let them fall without wiping them away. I watched silently. I don’t know how long I stood there for. Taking in each subtle movement of the forest. The trees shifting in the breeze, the rain becoming softer and heavier. A shimmer of sunlight penetrating the clouds for a moment, turning leaves from green to gold and then back to green again as the clouds reclaim the sky. I watch the raindrops gather in little lines on the underside of my tree’s branches. The leaves become heavy and start to droop with the weight of water droplets that slide gracefully down the leaf’s spine, hesitating for a moment at the very tip, before letting go. I reach my hand out to the branch. I have come to know this branch so well, I sit on it, lean against it, even do some of my exercises supporting my weight with it, and I always look out at the forest through the window it makes around my view. But now I really get to know it. In a way I have not seen it before. I touch each crease. The wrinkles that gather underneath. They are like the soft wrinkles of that once gathered in the fold’s of my Nana’s skin, but as though they have suddenly been turned to stone. The wood hard beneath my hand. On these branches the bark is smooth and when you look at it, there are more colours on the branch than it is even possible to describe. Shifting shades of greens and brown.
I know they like to call environmentalists “tree huggers” as an insult. And without wanting to play into their stereotypes, I have to say, that I love this tree. I love every crease in the bark. The little hollows where spiders retreat to each night. The hanging strips of bark that seem to have peeled away a little more each time i look at them. The flowers that have come and gone. Floating away on the breeze to join with the millions of other golden migrating flowers, softly twisting and turning in the air.
Lately I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t really felt like talking. Strange, I know, since my last correspondence with you was all about feeling lonely. But in this strangely meditative quietness I just feel like watching. quietly. I’m not thinking about the campaign, or about what I might have for dinner, or who I’d like to call me up on the phone. I am not really thinking about anything at all. Just taking it all in. Really watching, really seeing.
I touch my hands against the tree. And I feel for the first time I am really acknowledging it’s presence. I realise how strange it is that I wait for birds to visit in order to break my loneliness. When actually I have never really been alone. This whole time I have been in the presence of this magnificent tree. It has quietly kept me company.
This tree has been growing for hundreds of years in this forest. It has known many creatures, birds and insects in its life. They have come and gone. As will I. It has been home to many. Now it is home to me. Thinking of the stories people have told me about plants, I wonder if there tree notices me and how it responds to my presence here. I think about the information people have relayed to me, of experiments done with plants, proving that they do in fact react to people. You probably know the ones, experiments showing that plants change if people want to cause them harm or if people care for them. I hope my tree knows that I am here to do my best. I hope my tree knows.
I want to tell you why I am here. In case you have been wondering what this is all about. These ropes, this platform, and this strange human! It is very unusual to have a human move into your branches, I know. The thing is that there are some people out there who want to come and cut you down. They want to cut down and burn this whole forest around you. I want to help protect you. But I don’t know if I can.
I want to help the world see how magnificent you are. I want to share the beauty of this forest with people so that they will help to stop the destruction. But I don’t know if we can stop it in time.
I have loved other trees before. I just want to be up front and honest about that. I knew well a tree that I called “front sit” not too far from here. I promised Front Sit that I would defend it. Prehaps I was naive and I didn’t realise the power wielded by those who are in the business of destruction. I thought if I cared enough I could save Front Sit. I don’t want to worry you. But I want to tell you the truth. Front sit is gone now. I watched as the chainsaws tore through its flesh, their motor’s howling. Pools of woodchips spreading across the ground. I watched as Front Sit heaved and cracked. I watched as Front Sit hit the ground. And from then on I quietly watch the stump left behind, and I am filled with regrets. I am sorry I promised protection that I could not offer. I don’t want to have any illusions with you, Tree. When they come, they may come with a force so powerful that I can do nothing against their chainsaws, their machines, their money, their greed. I will not make you any promises I cannot keep.
Yet, my Tree, I want you to know that I will do all that I can. That I am doing all that I can. Right now. And although I am afraid that I cannot do enough in enough time, I have not given up hope.
Tree, I want you to know that I love you. And although you do not know them, there are many others who love you too. Many who have seen your branches, from right across the globe. I wish you could know, as I do, how many there are who love you. And who are doing everything they can to stop the madness of destruction.
Thank you, Tree. Thank you for having me. For keeping me safe in your arms. I hope that we will know each other for a long time to come. I hope that one day when I don’t live up in your canopy any longer I will be able to come to visit you. I hope that you will be free to keep growing tall and strong. I hope you will know many more animals and birds and insects and give them shelter for years to come. And I hope when you are old and your time comes, that you can fall to the earth in peace. That your body can lay on the forest floor and be taken back in by this forest to give new life.
All my love, Miranda”
I lie flat on my stomach, peering over the edge of the platform. I look down the trunk of my tree. I take in the shape and size of every branch, trying to sketch it into my memory. I never want to forget my tree. I look far down to the ground, where its trunk rises up from the dirt. Its roots stretching deep down below. I run my eyes over every detail and take it all in as I have never done before.
I have not written you a blog in a week, I know. And I am sorry. The last time I wrote I spoke about isolation and loneliness. I have found it difficult to know what to write to you lately. Now I have so much I want to share, but some of it is hard to describe in words. It has been a new journey for me. From this feeling of isolation to a new connection to this tree and this forest. And I feel an uncanny strengthening of my resolve. It’s getting close to 100 days up here now. I feel like I could stay another hundred. Whatever it takes to see an end to the wasteful destruction.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has been writing comments on my blog. My last post has 28 comments so far! I really love reading your comments. And especially after the last blog, I felt a lot less alone from all the encouragement and support that you showed. So, thank you. I’m very sorry for not writing much this past week. Some days I am so inspired to write, I just sit down and write and write. Other days I struggle to know what to say. So, I hope you will forgive me for the short breaks in blogging.