After coffee in my hand-painted Italian mug, and nice sweet apricots and peach slices, but while remembrance of the night’s fog was still on the morning, I walked down our little pine- and oleander-lined lane then crossed Arrastradero and walked on shaded horse trails of soft earth and pine needles up past the riding stables, the row of multicolored wooden stalls, early riders out with their palominos or bays, on up the muddy rutted road to the upper paddock, to get some pictures of the oak that always catches my attention on the hill—a quintessential oak (though oddly misshapen from the other side, like being as we were once on the wrong side of the Matterhorn unable to make out its famous profile), the one that reminds me of the excellent tree in the model riding stable I so coveted as a child, the one I put into a poem as possible savior at the end, unable to decide whether that oakly spread of its branches, the lovely characteristic shape, is best described as outstretched, outspread, held out, extended. None quite right; none doing it artistic justice.
The sun was in the wrong place for taking pictures, and one evening I’ll have to go back at twilight and catch the fine black silhouette of that oak against the last light of the day, the hills fading into indistinction. But I got my morning walk, some communion with trees (and ground squirrels, hawks, the watching horses), and returned home ready for cold tea and writing.
image: Christie B. Cochrell, Oak, Morning, Blue