I’ve only had a couple of Explores with the bike this summer, but I wanted to post at least one of them. Last week’s would have made an awesome entry because about two miles from my home, I found a lake. Really — that’s the kind of thing that happens when you live in The Swamp. You turn down a dirt road and at the end, beyond the barricades saying “No Vehicles Beyond This Point,” you find a lake.
I didn’t have a camera, though, so instead you get the previous Explore, where I learned something about starvation.
I took a bike path through the local park, which I’d Explored last summer. While biking, I found an opening in the woods.
Back in New York, by the way, I used to do stupid things like dismount and walk into the brambles and reeds at the back of Seaview Park, not entirely realizing someone might be hiding back there and the cops wouldn’t find my body for months. Angelborough is less scary, so what I did next was less stupid.
Just inside the woods, I found the remnants of a rock wall, and immediately behind that, a tremendous pine tree.
I can’t begin to estimate the age of the tree, but I imagine it saw the birth of that rock wall, back when Angelborough really was a swamp and we still thought of ourselves as a British colony. Standing beneath it, I could inhale the passage of time. It was so quiet, but not still in a frightening way. Instead I thought maybe I was the only one who’d come through here for weeks. I was the only one there to see this tree.
A few steps further in, I found this:
It’s a dead tree. Nothing special, right? But then I realized how much smaller it was than the surrounding trees. And after a while I realized, it was light-starved. With the crowns of so many pines interlocked overhead, it had done the best it could with what little light penetrated, but in the end it perished. It had plenty of food and water, but no light — no life.
There’s something to that. We all bring light into our lives in different ways. Yes, faith is one way, but light comes in so many forms: art, laughter, friendship, education, and so on. Like the tree, we can have everything we need, but without that light in our lives, we begin dying inside.
Then my New Yorker sensibilities kicked in, and I left that isolated place.