The sudden and shockingly fast spread of COVID-19 across the planet has thrust the world into an uncertain and frightening state of lockdown. Death is sweeping through the lands of the earth as nature entersits season of rebirth. Under normal circumstances, flowers sprouting from beneath frost and sunlight on our faces would be auspicious foretellings of easy times and warm summers to come, but these unprecedented times have the world wondering instead. When will it end? Will things ever go back to normal? Will I see the conclusion of this epoch? These questions may not have clear answers, but we are seeing the answer to a different question entirely: What happens to the earth when everyone stays inside?
In the city of Boulder, Colorado, an unusual mist hangs in the mountain forests and reports of looming figures in the distance are growing more frequent. One might see a shape that resembles a face that had previously gone unnoticed. Trees fallen in familiar shapes and noises far away in the night had raised eyebrows in Boulder in the past, but it now seems that these stories may be more than urban legends. On April 15th, along the Boulder Creek path, a tree with limbs and a face was seen definitively walking across the river toward the north. Legends of treants have wandered across the globe for centuries, but they are now allowing their faces to be seen by humans, allowing no room for doubt.
These beings are thought to have occupied this land for millenia, remaining unseen and one with nature. Not much is known about these beings, or even why they chose this time to reveal themselves. We can only note the obvious: they are living trees, humanoid creatures ranging from the size of a sapling to a towering sequoia. The trees’ feelings about humans remain a mystery, if they have any feelings about us at all. If they have been around as long as we think they have, they have seen countless species rise and fall, a part of nature’s great cycle — in time, we may be no different. Now, though, we will persist as is needed, with new encounters reminding us that there is more to be seen.