Saturday, September 23

the root

Looking off into the forest, I now imagine that the moss and soil have magically become transparent, so I can crawl around like a kid on a frozen pond, peering down into the clear earth. All the imbedded things have become visible—the rotted tree trunk, the stump, and the knitted maze of living roots. Each root is revealed, from its thick beginnings at the base of the mother tree, snaking away and gradually becoming thin, branching and weaving through dozens of other roots like a single strand in an immense, sprawling net. The root becomes slender as a pencil, then a string, and finally a delicate thread with hairs so minute they're too small to see. At these far extremities I can no longer tell where the root ends and the earth begins.

-- Richard Nelson The Island Within