Among the thousand gratitudes, I am truly grateful for kindness. I was raised partly by my grandparents. My grandfather died when I was young, but the kindness of his spirit continues to radiate through my life – I can still remember how it felt to be around him. He was kind, he was wise, and he was tall.

And maybe that’s why I love the Minnesota Northwoods so much – among the trees, I feel that same radiant sense of wisdom and kindness and tallness. I am not tall, and I do not always feel wise or kind – but I can at least recognize those qualities among the trees and be grateful for them. And in the Northwoods, the trees communicate themselves so clearly that they’re practically Narnian.

Even the tiniest trees are full of character. This little tree stood in the shadows of the tall ones, full of mischief and the bravery of living things that are sure they are loved. Grow tall, tiny tree! Grow wise, and grow kind!