23. The changeability of trees

For the changeability of trees. Some days I walk deep into the woods, up strenuous hillsides where the trees are ancient — ancient, I mean, by the measure of my own days, and older than the memory of the oldest people I ever loved. Oaks that sprang from acorns fallen into the same earth but a different world, now grown unembraceably broad, that have stood continuous to shade the paths of a myriad changeable passing lives. Today I am in a different place, small and fenced, where also there are trees, small and carefully arranged. But I remember long ago here other trees, tall enough to shade a hasty lunch or passing thought and not by nature purple in the springtime. I remember myself here, shaded, and with that boy seem to have been continuous. But the trees have proven changeable, and it is I who feel ancient in their presence.

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