In the past, the phone clicked with a sound of finality. These days, it goes silent. The screen of the phone brightly announces the call is ended, fades for a few seconds and goes black.
There remains a nostalgia to phone calls. I remember there was a phone voice, and a real life voice. Even my own mother sounded strangely different and far off, even when she was just two rooms away, telling me to get off the phone already.
There were some years when I lived alone in my apartment. Everyone was so far away, and I spent an inordinate amount of time talking to my family on the phone. City living was lonely sometimes. The urban landscape made me yearn for trees.
These thoughts both soothed and disturbed me as I pulled on jeans and rose from the bed in late afternoon, giving up on the aborted mission to dream land. The coveted nap eluded me. I had a blue feeling that comes from a mostly unproductive day.
I escaped to the woods with the phone set to camera. It was a grey and still afternoon, and the leaves crunched underfoot. There was nothing inspiring around. No autumn leaves, no greening tips of Sassafrass, no mushrooms. Eventually a veil lifted and I began seeing the way I was born to see. There is a kind of heart pounding quickening when ideas are born. A tall, dead pine leaning heavily sparked my interest. On close examination there was a stress crack meandering up the wood. I knew it was going down soon. Things like trees going down seem like sudden catastrophic events, but here was a foreshadowing.
The less obvious things attracted my eye more so than the tree. I liked the pinto pattern of remaining snow, the faded and flattened summer grass, the bare blueberry twigs that looked so frail against the oaks. I saw a decomposing log with a leaf reclining tenderly nearby, and up against the flat grey of the sky were tree tops, reaching for each other, so close to each other, and so separate.
Later, after dinner, I closed the blinds to the dark. I thought of the trees, standing out there in the cold, waiting for the day when their leaves will bridge the gap, mingle, and block out the sky in a canopy of green.