Waning Crescent Moon
Maybe this is unusual, but I have made friends with a tree stump.
Several years ago, near mile marker two on the local stretch of the Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail (the De Anza Trail for short), my attention was drawn to the rather comical remains of one of many old trees that line this part of the trail. I immediately liked this tree. It put a smile on my face every time I saw it from that day on. I usually take a picture of it and somewhere along the line I started calling it Stumpy the Dancing Tree Stump. You can probably see why.
I have long counted Stumpy among the many friends I have made while walking trails both nearby and far from home. A couple of times over the years I have introduced Stumpy to other hikers who happened to be passing by the same time I was visiting him. At the risk of appearing completely senile/demented/off-the-rails-alzheimered, I have actually elicited promises from these wary, unsuspecting walkers to keep the whereabouts and identity of Stumpy a secret.
It's a tiny club of special wanderers that know and love Stumpy's magical, ethereal key to happiness. If you have half an imagination and have caught yourself dancing to the beat of a favorite song while rooted in the comfort of an easy chair or cushy sofa, you might qualify.
Alas, in the past year, along with many other beings in the freaky time of viral death spirals and political mayhem, Stumpy has begun to crumble. When I first saw him with one arm cast to the ground, I reacted in anger, blaming this horror on the litterbugs and scofflaws of the world. Who else would willfully knock the limb from a blissfully dancing trail gnome?
Fortunately, I suppose, cooler heads prevailed. Friends counseled me not to seek vengeance. After all, they said, it could have been a passing cow who carelessly backed her big fat bum into Stumpy's merry, but fragile right arm. Maybe it was an accident, they said. Don't give in to any sudden homicidal urges, they said, it would be so unlike you. Okay, I guess so, I said. But still, I was saddened.
Now, every time I see Stumpy, he seems a little more stooped and weary, still dancing but clearly weakened by time and the elements. Me, too, bro. I feel ya, old friend, I feel ya.
Peace, Love, and Change,