"The impassive stones that receive and return so many echos"
- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
The spirit of the thing, that's what I want to know here and in all things. The clues to figuring it out (make a figure of it) are caught up in, snagged in, embedded in the details. Smoothness of bark, a taut satin. Absolutely solid roundness, firmness - not one fissure. Constancy, resolve. Sexy stuff.
"Whitman hit upon the idea of exercising his limbs by bending young trees ('my natural gymnasia,' he called them). The first day he spent an hour pushing and pulling an oak sapling, thick as a man's wrist and twelve feet high. 'After I wrestle with the tree awhile, I can feel its young sap and virtue welling up out of the ground and tingling through me from crown to toe, like health's wine.'"
- Lewis Hyde in The Gift