Before I can get as far as the pond I am distracted by the stacks of logs, some perhaps three feet in diameter and the enormous pile of wood chips that occupy the far corner of the parking lot. A feeling of loss wedges itself in my gut and I wonder how it is I never realized just how immense the trees, now felled, are. How many years it would have taken for their trunks to become so perfectly round and thick that I could not clasp them within my outstretched arms? How many summers of sun and heat, and winters enduring cold and snow passed, while all the time they stood erect with their branches reaching for the sky?
The wooded area isolating the bathrooms from the rangers cottage and the barn has disappeared. It is as if the earth has opened up and the forest been swallowed by it, revealing how close the three buildings really are. Previously they were, in my mind anyway, quite distinct from one another.
At one end of the roped off area a plastic covered sheet has been pinned onto a wooden post. Although it is flapping in the breeze I can see both writing and colored photos have been printed on it. I wander over to read it.
I am immediately relieved. Someone understands the loss wedged in my gut.
“Trees…. sadly sometimes come into direct conflict with our need to improve the health and safety of visitors.”
The notice continues to inform me that the red oak will be used to construct flooring and furniture for the new visitors center at Walden Pond.
I think about the change in form that these trees are undergoing, how they will be returned to Walden not as towering branches swaying over my head but as smoothed and polished floor boards bearing the weight of all that has come and gone inside me over the years I failed to really notice them.
I think of my daughter. How last September her form changed from one of being a spirit, a soul housed in the body of a young woman to the pure light that shines down on me, to the heavy air that wafts around me when I see and sense with eyes that are not restricted to understanding just what is physically present. How in the transformation from her human form she was freed into an eternity of love.
As I walk away, I take a closer look at where the earth has been churned and the dirt heaved up in untidy mounds. Somehow it looks different and inside me the weight of loss has lightened and is replaced by a sense of peace and acceptance.