Summer, 1949: age eight and alone. I wander miles from home with total freedom of the woods. White pines have welcomed me not into a perfect dream, but into their perfect reality.

I slowly walk in half-light through the fragrant grove, across the soft cushion of clean forest floor.I sink slowly, gently down, reclining entranced and spellbound in the hushed harmony of a surreal world. I rest. . . and dream.

The trees have grown with sufficient separation, graciously sharing space, light, water, and nutrients. My gaze lingers on strong trunks, then drifts upward, through and beyond the highest, youngest growth, into brief glimpses of a bright blue universe. I rest. . . and dream.

Summer, 2018: age seventy-seven and alone. Vivid forest memories return. The trees were my mentors. I thank them for their virtues and inner strengths: fortitude, perseverance, nonviolence, wisdom, stillness, contentment, cooperation, patience, constancy, endurance, tolerance, contemplation, and grace.

I thank them for my profound, quiet awareness. I rest. . . and dream.

Will Walsh