On this straight trail through a green tunnel of alders, my mind wanders from thought to thought like Aki wanders from spots of scat and pee. Through a break in the green wall made by a deer trail, I see an enormous boulder in the moss covered troll woods. Hemlocks surrounded it. Another hemlock grows straight out of the glacier erratic’s top.
In my imagination, the isolated tree becomes an ancient troll teacher, his mossy bark transformed into a warm beaver coat. He leans on a cane made from a bear’s leg bone. The little trees around the rock turn into young trolls, their stomachs swollen with salmon head soup push out against their green sockeye salmon skin tunics. It’s raining so they wear caps made from inverted mushrooms. Unrestrained by science or access to the Internet, the old troll is free to pull answers for his student’s questions from the air.
“Teacher, where did the great school rock come from?”
“It fell from the pocket of the giant whose footprints became our lakes after they filled with water.”
“Teacher, who cut the grove in the rocks under our waterfalls?”
“The giant’s bear friend, when he sharpened his claws.”
“Teacher, why do the salmon gather each summer in the deep pool beneath the waterfall?”
“The giant sends them to us so we will have food to each and skins to wear.”