there is a place on a washington island road where the rest of the world disappears. you are walking alongside forest and can see the sky as you look up, tall trees framing blue, the sound of sandhill cranes and red-eyed vireos accompanying your steps. and then you enter this place. the trees gently arc over the road and you are covered by a canopy; we have sheltered in this spot during more than one sudden rainfall. even in the bright day, the green above you – which turns to brilliant umber, rich red, flaming orange during summer’s release on the forest – allows for little light. and at dusk, while the sun sinks into the water hundreds of feet away, walking in the middle of the road, it is dark-dark, the canopy a lure for night creatures, safe in the shadows.
there is a place in a tree in the yard of my growing-up house outside the window of my old room where the branches invited sitting. for hours i would sit there, write, ponder. in the summer the maple seemed to grant me privacy from the world, its branches full of leaves and canopying my little spot. a shelter.
there was a place in the wooden structure in our backyard that had a yellow awning that made a fort. when My Girl and My Boy were little they would play up there for hours, The Boy lining up matchbox cars, The Girl often reading a book. a special space, this little fort, it was hard when it was time to dismantle it and pass it on to friends with little ones.
these places of shelter – places of canopy – provide such a sense of protection, a sense of being held from harm – from the elements, away from others, in our own private place. much like our homes, they can give us pause, a deep breath, safety.
in this time of distancing and stay-safe-stay-at-home, i look around our house and give thanks for its canopy of shelter, for the way it holds us from harm, for the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years it keeps us safe.
CANOPY ©️ 2009 david robinson