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.