If I have a favorite tree, I keep it a secret.
From that tree, from other trees, from myself.
Because to have a favorite is to invest emotion and worry about that tree and remember another tree just like it that was also beautiful in the spring and fell apart soon after.
And to remember the part of the older tree that remained had to be removed like the rest of it because it was no longer a tree but the memory of one.
Better to think of a forest than a tree within that forest.
The forest endures, even as trees within it fall to bugs, lightning or age.
I say forest though the trees around my house don’t qualify as a forest.
Not the Bradford pear between the house and vegetable garden.
Not the cottonwood trees behind and above the shed that make me sneeze when their cotton lays on the yard like a light snow.
Not the maples in front of the house or behind, in the ravine, where they hog the edge, trying to block older, taller oaks from the sun.
Not the birch trees north of the Santa Fe rails that multiply with ease.
Not the walnut or oak or pine or birch or peach or apple trees.
Not the fir trees I’ll plant next week to replace some of the pines.
So, while I don’t have a favorite tree, I do have a favorite faux forest.
It’s the one I see at the beginning and end of many bicycle rides.
April 10. 14 miles.