I’m working on revisions to Indian Summer, the prequel to The Field – adding more conflict and more mystical experiences. The story revolves around Eric’s younger sister, Marcie, trying to save an old growth forest from development, so I decided to give the trees a leading role. Here’s a short excerpt that I recently added.
The cool dimness beneath the canopy envelops me when I step into the woods. My footfalls are muffled by the carpet of leaves beneath my feet as I make my way between closely packed trunks and over fallen logs deeper into the filtered light. I’m not sure what I’m looking for or if I’m looking for anything at all, but I feel welcomed into this place by the trees. I place my palms on the trunks as I pass in a sort-of greeting or acknowledgement, I don’t know which.
When I’ve gone about fifty yards, I come to a massive maple tree. The one we call Grandmother tree. The kids use it for home base in our games of kick-the-can and sardines. Its branches extend far into the sky arching outward to create a protective shelter above me. I stand in front of it, or her, as I think of it, for a while and then feel compelled to walk up to her and place my palms on her rough bark. The whispering I heard in Jamison bay is strong here. Are the trees communicating with me?
I put my arms around Grandmother tree and place my cheek against her bark. These woods and this tree are like old friends. They’re a part of my childhood. I don’t hear any words, but I imagine that Grandmother tree knows how I feel.