My Favorite Tree

This tree is my favorite in the world. In 2002 I attended a Hog Island Youth Ecology Camp for 10 days. Towards the end of our camp, the instructors asked us to go for a walk along the east shore trail, find a place where we could sit quietly, and then journal our thoughts about the week we’d had. As campers peeled off from the pack to have their own moments of reflection, I kept walking farther into the island. Just when I was about the last camper standing, I picked a spot off the trail amidst a thicket of spruce trees. Though the whole island is filled with spruce, this space was free of ferns and undergrowth. It started to rain as I sat under this particular tree, but its branches kept me dry. As I reflected, even as a kid, it seemed like a perfect place and moment. Every time I’ve returned to Hog Island (five separate times) I’ve visited this tree, but this year was the first year I sat under it and simply existed. No agenda, no place to be. Just stillness. There was such peace in my heart, I can’t describe it, but I wish the feeling for everyone I know. It wasn’t a leaping or pounding for joy, but mirrored the gentle breeze and quiet air. There were crows cawing in the distance, waves lapping at the rising tide; the air was cool and sweet and a bald eagle flew overhead carrying a fish. The smell of spruce was soft, just like the bed of needles I sat in. Here, all the world’s troubles seemed to melt away. But it was also a beautiful and vivid reminder of why I want to protect these places. Thank you, Tree. I can’t wait to see you again.

Learn more about Hog Island and the camps offered on my Field Notes blog posts or the Hog Island website.

The view while sitting under my tree.

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