Witch hazel was once the dowser’s favorite source of forked sticks. But nowadays the few dowsers still practicing their ancient and ridiculous craft are just as likely to improvise with wire from a coathanger — good news for the witch hazels, I suppose. But just look at this tree: doesn’t it look like a great place to hang a coat?
For six months the trees have stood bare and exposed, and I’ve had nothing but convivial feelings toward them. But now suddenly they are turning alien and inhuman. Where before I might’ve seen a face, now there’s nothing but a mask waiting to be carved. I’m seeing handles instead of hands, chair legs instead of limbs, and instead of company, a forest of empty chairs.