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On Satire

This Atlantic article: Garry Trudeau thoughts on Charlie Hebdo is an important one.

Depth First

I enjoy looking at trees.

Especially in the winter and late autumn when their branches are fully exposed.

I like how they start so simply. A single trunk coming out of the ground, then the second largest protrusion next. Two branches, still fully knowable.

But after that things explode. With as many as four secondary offshoots exploding off the primary trunk. Their thick outline still very definable, if you squint your vision to blurriness the smaller branches melt away, leaving visible only the bones of these core pathways.

Trees are just beautiful machines, playing a game in three dimensional space of trying to capture the most sunlight from a source that cuts a slightly different arc through the sky each day.

They compete like football players reaching up high, trying to catch a thing moments before the other.

They sometimes grow sad little, desperate branches, who snake around so far to find a sunny spot for foliage that you have to imagine the whole thing became self-defeating dozens of inches ago.

It seems like trees can't give up. They grow out branches until they are completely untenable and are begging to be collapsed by a heavy, sticky snow or a particularly gusty bit of wind.

They are organic robots which perform slow, methodical pratfalls over the course of decades.

My favorite thing, is to look at two or more trees, silhouettes overlapping and merging. It is a visual complexity that knocks my brain down into a comfortable seated position of resignation.

As a child my favorite activity was just to tromp through our small plot of woods next to our house. Hunting for promising sticks to make staffs or swords or clubs. Digging ineffective pit traps for small game (or bad guys). Hammering scrap lumber into senseless cross-crosses that couldn't even be defined as a lean-to.

When the leaves grew in, that small bit of forest seemed to extend forever in the distance, a private dominion. It wasn't until fall or winter when the illusion faltered, and you could see the roads and neighboring houses suddenly impossibly close.

Having spent time in Texas and Chicago, I had trouble defining exactly what was wrong and uncomfortable about those places. I could point to the local culture, the driving habits or the traffic, but in the end, I think it comes back to the amount of unspoilt copses of trees they had.

It doesn't take many trees to form a nearly infinite land for a young mind to both explore and populate with wonder.

And I don't fully trust a place that hasn't kept some amount of that area about.