Studying Trees

We’ve been learning their names. It’s a delicate process: the tender plucking of a single leaf, hands kissing its thin green skin. And then a turning of pages, searching for the title we’ve given it, to know what to call it in this spoken language: American basswood, hardy catalpa, black locust.

But to know it—its breath, its heartbeat—we come closer, touch its bark, speak softly to it in its own language of breeze in leaf, in hair. Words of dirt and root, and a growth of slowness, and a being of patience.

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