With us was our slim and slinky and silvery pussycat, Pitter. (Her sister, Patter, also used to walk these woods with us but, alas, she met her end on the same day as Senator Wellstone’s plane went down—a day that will live in sorrow.)
After giving a chortle of acknowledgment, I addressed the question as if serious: No, a cat would not identify with the trees as we people do, because they’re horizontal, spinally speaking, and what makes the trees the ‘tall people’ is that we and the trees share our upright stance in the world.”
It’s a lovely notion, this identification of us people with trees, because trees are such splendid creatures. April is of the opinion that trees are more likely to be God’s favorites than humans, and I can certainly see her point.
(She’s expressed beautifully one of her many appreciative takes on the trees in our world in a recent piece on her website entitled, “Trees on Winter Nights,” to be found at click here www.theearthconnection.org/blog/2009/03/trees-on-winter-nights/)
We see ourselves as tree-like, and we like the connection. Tall, dignified, enduring, a thing of beauty.
As my mind turned toward this likening of trees with humans, a phrase from Longfellow’s poem, Evangeline, came to my mind: he says of the trees that they “stand like Druids of old.”
He speaks of these trees as he conjures up “the forest primeval.”
THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic…
The Druids of old tell us of the solemnity of the trees. The dignity, the looming presence of a great force. The trees speak with the voices of prophets.
The trees represent an elevated, flattering view of human possibility.