I dreamt you on October 16, 2011.

It was the hemlocks, of course. Something stirred to life in my heart by the intense tenderness I feel for them that brought you to my heart. They are dying, you know, here at the beginning of the 21st century.  Entire stands of hemlocks are being decimated by the wooly agelid, a tiny insect that drains their verdancy, until hillsides that once were painted deep green now appear to be swathed in smoke.

There is something tender in me around them. I champion their survival when I find pockets of survivors, hidden away from the wooly agelid that would destroy them. Likewise, I mourn for mountainsides, once flushed with them, now a dusky shade of gray, like the face of an old one before death.

My tenderness for them leapt up, almost tripping me there on that ridge above Little Pine Creek, with an fierce longing for them to survive. I yearned for them to be safe, there in that place, at last.  Surely, the agelid would not find them there somehow, on that secluded ridge where it seemed that no human feet had trod for some time.

So full of joy I was that day. It’s always like that for me in the woods. All my anxiety, my fear, my pain seems to lift and dissipate, like low lying fog over morning waters with the rising of the sun. Suddenly, there you were, standing right in front of me, alongside my earnest hope for their survival. I beckoned you then to return to this spot, to visit some day when you are grown, to check on these ones. I wonder how tall they’ll have grown by then, if you’ll be able to imagine what they were like as I saw them that day in their nursery beds.

I want you to know them.

I wonder. Is it something in me I want you to know? Is it something of an earlier, ancient way that I fear will be lost to this world? Or is my tenderness linked to something in me that I fear is dying also, falling prey to parasites that drain the life from me steadily over time, and seemingly all at once.

Is that why I celebrate so when I see young ones thriving on the top of the ridge, even as I suspect they were probably offspring from some giant that fell prey? Are they also alive in me, springing to life in abundance after the fall?  Or are those seeds perhaps hidden in the bellies of my granddaughters.

I wonder who you think I am? Likely I’ll seem terribly old fashioned to you, as my great-grandmother at the turn of the last century seems to me. Will you imagine me old or young? Thin or fat? Beautiful or homely? Wise or naïve? Ignorant or educated? Will you wonder what part of me runs rich in your veins?

I’d like to believe that by the time you are here, we will have figured a few things out. For instance, that humans make mistakes and it doesn’t at all mean the end of the world, the damnation of a soul, or the end of your life. I hope there is more gentleness, more mercy, more kindness. I hope there is more beauty, that we haven’t destroyed it all… and yet, I suppose, that too won’t be the end of the world, for I have learned that beauty really has little to do with appearances.

I hope that women will give birth to babies again without the interference of drugs, that you will know that great pleasure of that. Yes, I hope that numbness to true power and beauty will not prevail.

…and so I suppose there is much tied into my hope for the survival of the hemlock.

I want to see how it turns out. I’ll need you to be my eyes.


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