In the Arms of a Scrub Oak

March 7, 1977 - Posted March - 1999

Last night Sandi and I walked down our snow covered lane to the camp gate. It was cold and damp, but not the bitter cold of the dead of winter. It was a humid cold, the kind that lies on you, not piercing or penetrating, but enveloping the soul, wrapping you in a mist.

It surrounds and hovers. It will not leave

Once we reached the gate I began to climb the hill to watch the moon rise. We climbed into deep snow, so deep that at times I sank to my knees. Suddenly, as we reached the crest, I stopped in stunned silence.

I was carried off by a magical wind. A warm southwest wind rolled over the hill. Instantly it seemed twice as warm as down in the valley.

The smell, the smell was of autumn leaves.

Ahhhh - so warm. I drank it in and smelled and smelled and smelled.

I drank the scent like a dying man. I had been transported to another land, a distant place where the night breezes are warm. A vacation place.

I went to my favorite tree and began to climb. I climbed and climbed until the branches would no longer hold my weight. Looking down at Sandi, I swayed a good 50 feet above the top of the hill.

On the horizon the moon glowed with a special radiance. I looked over the valley, the cedar swamp, the stands of pines, and could see the high river bank about 2 miles away.

The tree gently rocked back and forth in the warm wind. I heard from a distance a car as it approached from the river road and then faded into the night.

I wondered what the driver would think, if he knew that two miles back in the woods and nineteen miles from town, a young man stood in the top of a scrub oak at midnight, watching the moon rise over the cedars.

I know what I thought.

I was thankful.