There’s something irresistible about being INSIDE a tree. I knew that early. Reading My Side of the Mountain, I met my kindred spirit, Sam Gribley. At age twelve, Sam ran away from home and survived winter in the Catskill Mountains by living inside a giant hollowed-out hemlock.
My early reading also included Greek myths featuring un-kindred spirits. For instance, there were the Dryads, a form of nymph who lived inside trees. Even Christianly literature, like The Chronicles of Narnia, would harken back to the animation of trees. Mr. Tumnus warns Lucy about the Dryads: “The woods are full of her spies, even some of the trees are on her side.” And then, you have to admit… trees are pretty special in the Bible, from beginning to end.
For those reasons — and because I’m part Scottish (my excuse for strange excess) — when I see a giant hollowed-out tree, it still tugs at the little boy brain in my old man body. That happened yesterday. The question was inevitable: “Can I get inside?” One disturbing picture — that I’ll spare you — says, “Yes, I can get inside.” After removing my daypack, I was swallowed whole by an ancient tree at White Rock Lake.