If you want to know me, as you say that you do, then follow me into the deep, dark wood.
Find me resting in the spongy, loamy soil. That place where your feet will practically bounce on the beds of three hundred generations of leaves. You will wonder if you have become weightless, but gravity will find you.
There I am. Tall and crooked. Smooth and cool against your palms. But watch the thorns. They are here to remind you to be thoughtful in how you explore this land.
You may rest your belly against me. Feel the unblinking eyes on my bark hold your gaze as you sink your cheek against mine. Relish in my touch. But I am not yours yet.
First you must cut me down and bury me in black soil. Fill every crevice and hole and crack until no trace of my pinkish hues remain. Wait. Be still. Absolutely quiet.
The scavengers will come first. The mushrooms next. As they do their work I will be so surrendered that you will wonder if I am there at all.
Trust me I am. If you don’t believe me, let the damp perfume of early spring remind you of the faith you lack.
When the saplings rise from my mouth you may uncover me. Toss aside the decayed matter and hear the hum of summer insects feasting on your offerings.
Find my hand. Pull me up and lay me to dry in the warm sunshine. But touch nothing else. Let me find my own feet. Let me stand and begin my walk through the trees.
If I pause and look back at you, you will know that you have earned my trust. And then you may speak your intentions.