monica byrne

The forest and the trees.

Two years ago on my birthday, I took a walk in Eno Park and prayed to make a living from my creative work. This year, I went for a walk in Duke Forest, and having (at least temporarily) achieved that goal, I prayed for coping skills. Because the nature of the hedonic treadmill is that you forget good fortune quickly and fixate on problems. I’m in the middle of four major projects right now—final edits on the novel, helping to produce the Fringe production of What Every Girl Should Know, managing the associated IndieGogo campaign, and writing enough of the new play Tarantino for auditions to happen—and so even on my birthday, it was hard to quiet my mind enough for thirty seconds, to pray at a stretch.

Instead I just gave up and trusted the universe knew what I needed.

I’m always a little surprised at how many trees there are in the world. I trace this back to being a child of the 80s, when alarmist environmentalism was all over the pages of the tissue-thin Scholastic handouts we got in school each week. I remember reading how, at X rate, all of the rainforests would disappear by Y date; but I took this to mean all trees, everywhere, and I had a vivid fantasy of the last tree on earth being the gnarled pear tree in our backyard in Annville, and tying myself to its trunk as the bulldozers advanced.

So I’m always a little relieved to see those measures aren’t necessary, yet.