"And then there is one particular tree, a tree that I always see because it is the northernmost one... It has multiple trunks all braided and buttressed, and roots that snake out over the ground as widely as it branches snake out into the air. ... At the risk of being spotted as hopelessly eccentric, I always stop for a moment and touch the course-grained, gray bark of it with my hand, or sometimes with my cheek, which I suppose is a way of blessing it for being so strong and beautiful. ...on one particular morning I found myself touching it not to bless it for once, but to ask for its blessing, so that I myself might move toward old age and death with something like its stunning grace and courage."
~ Frederick Buechner (from The Secret in the Dark)
The solstice morning sun rising in the east over a snow-covered landscape / New Jersey / Dec. 21, 2009