Big Trees I find something reassuring in big trees, the ones that asked no one’s permission when they sprouted from the ground a hundred or a thousand years ago. I would not know, unless one fell, what endless dramas its rings might hold in memory―but I can dream: I dream up years of plenty, like a child’s picture book, a happy spring, no lack of rain or sun, the trunk swells thick and leaves unfurl, a perfect watercolor form against a vernal paradise. I imagine waves of drought, bark pinches tight and stunts new growth in self-protection; primal instincts ration resources, save strength, repeat the mantra: less today, to live tomorrow. I think of rings made dark by fires borne too near on winds that tear apart illusions of control, tickle its trunk, flicker across its branches, char its shell but somehow leave its life intact. I see ivy in its stealth attack creep up and snack on that strong trunk, drape leafy arms across those branches casually, like a false friend. In all these dreams I like to think these trees could thrive millennia beyond our human lives, and stand, and stay, reminding us that some things do survive.