And yet, when I get close enough to a Madrone to touch it, I remember that the Arbutus menziesii is my power tree. Something about that cool, smooth green bark, with the papery russet-colored peelings reminds me that I love this planet which can spawn such beautiful things.
This nearly irresistible temptation is part of the power of the tree. Anyone can peel the bark off. Not peeling the bark off allows for a whole new understanding. I can stand near a Madrone, crunch the formerly waxy fallen leaves beneath my feet, lean in close to smell the woody trunk, and find a green peely-bark-free spot to rest my palm. The longer I remain in silence, without disturbing a single irresistible curl of bark, the more the tree becomes my fortress of solitude: a source of power and knowledge, a beacon to draw me away from the hum-drum life of everyday humans, an emblem of all I have yet to learn.