and Joseph, who, though he typically guides geneticists and arborists from all over the world up into this magnificent and precious biodiverse heaven in the mountains, is such an extraordinarily open-minded human being, that he saw the unique value of escorting these 3 (who, among them, are dancers, poets, painters, translators and photographers) in addition to having doctoral degrees into the ghostly depths of the beech giants. We carefully approached each one, and spent time with them: heir tangled expressive roots, their gigantic, muscled limbs, theirradiant barkof a shade I would never have met in my life were it not for this visit. We cutmushrooms from the grass inside their dripline. We took off our shoesto meet the oldest Yew tree in the forest: "Grandmother."
She lives up near the source of the water that never stops moving downward. Everyone calls her “Grandmother”, including Joseph. He paid his respects, gave her some news of the world, and went back to the rock hut to start dinner. We soeurcerers took off our clothes to meet the birthing of the Massane river: the single outpouring from a black rock faceat the summit. We swam which is a prayer with the skin. We put our clothes back on in time for the stars to come out. Cosmic modesty. At camp, Joseph had made a fire that was now banking coals. We dried our long hair, swinging it in the night wind. We slept on the open ground so we could see the stars. The stars never stop appearing up through the leaves and branches of that intact canopy: beloved, protected, mostly untouched, accuillante. Me and my forest, sisters.
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