Small tender leaves, the most delicate of greenery and flowering dogwoods scatter through the wooded hillside surrounding me.

The first tree I ever loved was a dogwood.  Placed just so beneath a retaining wall I would jump from the wall, catch a  branch, swing out then drop down into the grass below. I had thought to grow up and be an astronaut but a trapeze artist was looking equally good in that year.

I understand a bit more, probably a bit less as well since those short flights from wall to lawn. There have been other flights.  Flights of fancy.  Flights through darkened dangerous and drunken nights.  Flights from lovers and flights back into their arms as the girl grew into woman.  Flight out of these mountains into the cities and flights out of the city back into these mountains.

The brush has flown back and forth over canvas, a life's work.  Not the canvas of a big top tent but a canvas.  I have not flown to the moon, perhaps I will perhaps I will not but the dark canvas has been filled with the song of the deep night all the same.

The first tree I ever loved was a dogwood.  Placed just so....