There is a very tall White Pine tree growing along a trail down to the St. Croix River that I have fallen in love with. It was love at first sight, the first time I ventured down this trail more than ten years ago. He is the tallest tree in these woods, towering over the rest of the trees in the forest. He is robust, strong, and timelessly and ruggedly handsome.
I have visited this tree many times over the past ten years, and every time I see him, I feel an irresistible need to wrap my arms around his massive trunk and hug him. He makes me glad whenever I see him, glad that he exists for me to hug, and even more glad that he has survived the many wind storms and tornados and erosion-causing rain storms that have bombarded the area in the past decade. Glad that he has existed for the hundreds of years before I made his acquaintance, surviving logging and homesteading and campers and vandals. When I hug him, I touch my face to his bark and I tell him such. I then wish him well and continue on my way.
I visited him yesterday on a walk with my cousin who was visiting for Christmas. He is still standing tall, and my heart is fuller knowing he is still there watching over the river valley.