This is my forest. I escape to it daily. My schedule doesn't allow me two free hours so I have to steal them; usually before sunrise. I've hiked it in the total darkness, having to almost feel my way through, while my heart races in almost sheer panic. I've hiked so close to the deer that I can almost touch them. I've tiptoed through flocks of wild turkeys and I've had barred owls speak to me from the trees. I'm very aware of the trees. I've been coming here for fifteen years, but only recently have I felt such a strong connection to the trees.
Lately, every now and then, a tree has asked me for a hug. I'm serious. I'm going along thinking about all of the things I have to do that day, and a tree has stopped me cold and asked for a hug. The first time this happened, I sheepishly looked around to be sure no one else was watching. And I did it. I hugged a tree. Its energy filled my spirit completely. The Cherokee Indians hugged trees. They did it with their back to the tree and wrapped their arms around behind them so the energy of the tree and its wisdom could fill them.
There is a special tree on this trail and you'll only see it if you're the kind of person that sees things. In fact, when I think about it, I never noticed this tree until I started hugging them. So, maybe you have to be the kind of person that would not only hug a tree, but would humble themselves enough to write about it.
This tree is guarding dozens of heart-shaped rocks at its base roped off by a tiny little fairy-sized twig fence. The fence keeps the love from overflowing onto the path which would divulge its secret.
Someone has been leaving the rocks, tucked within a nook on the backside of the tree that you won't see when you are looking ahead of you. Someone, somewhere is leaving a gift at this tree, either for the tree or for someone they love. I've been secretly adding to the collection when I find a heart-shaped rock and the love keeps growing. What a beautiful world we live in.