The Verticality of the Forest

I am always confronted by the verticality of the forest, by the way it ascends, layer on layer, from the underbrush to the canopy, and my walking through the forest, even when I am walking along its paths, seems like it moves along the wrong plane, fails to recognize the movement proper to its place.  I am always finding it necessary to stoop toward the flowers and the insects and the snakes, always finding it necessary to crane toward the birds and the butterflies and the leaves and the very sky.  I am pulled in both directions, stretched between earth and sky, and this tension is not lessened, only intensified the further I walk in it.  Though I know it is not so, though I can think of countless examples to the contrary, it seems impossible to me that horizontality is not a purely human thing, a purely unnatural thing, confined to those places where we have cleared the forest so that we might break the terrible tension that suspends us, longingly, in verticality.

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