Today was a perfect day, and as with most perfect days, it involved reading, the girls, and a tree. Mimicing my wife, who has taught me a great deal about how to spend time with our daughters, we packed a picnic and went across the pond to the big tree. This is a sugar maple, perhaps 200 years old (I can only get my arms around 1/4 of it), and has always been one of the more important natural elements of our landscape. We set out our picnic below the tree, which has some chairs left there for such visists, and the girls ate and giggled while I read them book after book. In between books I sat back and looked up into the dense canopy above, watching the wind work its way through the branches. When you don't live near the ocean, one needs a tree of this scale to properly understand the wind, to see it breathing. What amazes me about this tree is how much of it is dead and yet it lives on a massive scale. I don't even know how to describe it properly to you now, except to say that it has captured my imagination for 10 years, and I'm pleased to pass that on to our girls.